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Yung - A Youthful Dream (Album Review)

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 Written by Jonathan Rimmer

In a way, Yung’s biggest strength is also a weakness. The band are the embodiment of youthful exuberance, racing between ideas and themes at a rate of knots.

There’s a reckless urgency to ‘A Youthful Dream’ that is common among fledgling bands. They seem all too eager to cram all their neat riffs and grooves into one track rather than spreading them out, especially early on. As soon as something registers, it’s gone in a heartbeat.

They’re not naïve, though. The fact that a band called Yung can make a fast-paced punk record called ‘A Youthful Dream’ demonstrates self-awareness, if not subtlety.

As the album progresses, its shifting dynamics are brought to the fore and their wall of guitars is increasingly interrupted by clever counter-melodies and obscure rhythms.

Moreover, it begins to make sense why Yung are so highly strung: the band are attentive students. Their post-punk grooves are complemented by Midwest-inspired guitar tones, the production is shoegazey and their erratic song structures suggest they’ve heard a Refused record or two.

Rather than exaggerate these different elements, they arrange the album thematically and switch up their style when necessary. It’s an intelligent approach and Uncombed Hair and Blanket feel like intoxicating snapshots of joyous abandon.

It means that the band’s more brooding cuts are strategically placed towards the end of the record. Distortion and reverb are still essential components on Sound of Being OK and the title track, but suddenly they’re used to convey a sense of unease and foreboding. The party’s over – everybody’s waking up.

It’s this contextual understanding that makes everything else on the album make sense. Songwriter and vocalist Mikkel Holm Silkjær, just 21, is notably restrained, avoiding the tendency to over-emote that is so prevalent among singers his age.

This quality is particularly impressive on Pills, the glorious album centrepiece that ascends towards a chorus that is as surprising as it is satisfying. When the album slows down on tracks like Morning View and The Child, he confounds expectations again by stepping up in the mix.

The drums also play a pivotal role. Frederik Nybo Veile’s rolling toms and delicate syncopations mean that even the wilder tracks never quite go off the rails. That’s perhaps the most ironic thing of all: you have to pay attention to even pick up on the skill and control that’s involved.

‘A Youthful Dream’ feels like a confusing mess, but that’s the point. Enjoyment of the album hinges on how willing you are to get into Yung’s headspace. Considering their ambition in the latter half, it’s unlikely that these young Danes will enjoy making music this muddled for much longer. But they’re good at it.

Yung Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue June 14 2016 - LONDON Shacklewell Arms
Thu June 16 2016 - BRIGHTON Prince Albert

Click here to compare & buy Yung Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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