Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Younghusband - Dromes

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


“There is a lot about the passing of time. The lack of time. The abundance of time. The wasting of time." Those are the words of Euan Hinshelwood, singer and founding member of London-based Younghusband, a band whose album 'Dromes' arrives almost two and a half years after their first single. There can be many reasons for albums having a lengthy gestation; with Younghusband, the whole formation and development of the band has been a long and winding road, a road that's reflected in the very nature of the songs that it comprises. It was 2010 that the seed was planted by three musicians on the Watford scene, all in different bands. Euan had begun recording on an eight-track and the basis for the group's songs began taking shape that way. Then a début single was released. At this point it was decided a proper band should be formed.

Some of the tracks on 'Dromes' are reworkings of subsequent single/EP releases (but not the début), and the initial incarnations of many of these songs were written and recorded by Euan in relative isolation, in a strange physical space (a former rehab centre), but also a strange headspace. This is an album that flits between styles and emotions, perhaps mirroring the way the band itself took shape, but each track is cooked to perfection, even if some of the recipes come from different books. 'Running Water' is where we begin, and this could simply be passed off as dreampop (as could much of this album) but if you listen then you hear psych-folk and confusion: it's like a mirage or a fantasy. Awaking us with a start is 'Comets Crossed'. Psychedelia is an overused word that can mean just about anything, but think '60s psych jangle filtered through a space-rock pedal. It's a highlight that makes it difficult not to think of Stereolab, despite the lack of a clear connection. 'Left Of The Rocks' keeps you in the cosmos; this is more stereotypical space-rock that toys with vintage electronics and krautrock.

There's much more to this music than meets the eye or than we'll have time to mention here. Those two (inter)stellar tunes both have huge single potential; just try not liking them. If Younghusband are taking us on a trip then by 'Sunstroke' we're still voyaging through distant galaxies, but now there's no urgency. It's been replaced by a sense of wonder and is pure blissed-out relaxation; a slumber you never want to wake from, but that's OK, because there's no rush. The pace is upped for '*', but again it can leave you in a hypnotic state should you so wish. Single 'Silver Sisters' requires full attention though, as it floats between electronic pioneers of four decades ago, the softer side of shoegaze and their very own take on ambient music, music which they may have brought back from the other dimensions we recently visited. This is then combined with a motorik beat for 'Reunion Message', more single material that recalls last year's exceptionally good Yeti Lane album 'The Echo Show'.

There's respite, not that it's needed, in '**', a track made from breathy sighs and little else. For a brief second we return to planet Earth for the opening bars of 'Wavelength' which is as close as this album comes to normal "indie" type music, although this soon gets cocooned in warm layers of sound. Even approaching the end this meandering album has surprises in store. 'Divisions' sounds as though the band managed to time travel back to a Berlin studio in the '70s and have a quick play around before they got caught. It's another pretty, ambient, but always tuneful number. 'Constantly In Love' gently lowers us down to the realms where "normal" music exists, albeit in a lovely way. You just know that Younghusband have one more trick up their sleeve though, and the title-track, despite venturing into orbit again, feels like the natural conclusion to an album that's been an eventful and wandering journey for the people who made it, and an equally eventful and wandering journey for those of us lucky enough to experience it.





Younghusband's website

Stream the album in full

Buy the album

Catch them live:

September 17 - Manchester - The Castle
September 18 - Hull - Adelphi
September 19 - Glasgow - Nice'N'Sleazy
September 20 - Leeds - Cockpit
September 21 - Leicester - The Cookie Jar
September 23 - Southampton - The Joiners
September 24 - London - The Lexington
September 26 - Bristol - The Louisiana





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