Check out our new section The Teletype.

The Youngs
The Youngs

Web of Mimicry

he debut release by Seattle-based husband and wife team (where do these people find each other?) Eryn and Tim Young sometimes succeeds more on its technical merits than the fabulousness of its content, but it still offers some seriously bold ear and brain candy all the way through.

Maybe it’s due to the resourcefulness necessitated by being a duo, albeit a highly skilled one with highbrow musical training and stints with such notables as Sun City Girls and David Sylvain to their credit. They have a fine ear for uncluttered arrangements and a studio savvy that makes the most of their guitar and keyboard textures and dueting vocals. The undulating guitars and hazy organs on the folky story/song “Cold Wind” are a prime example. As the story of some rural drama unfurls, the track builds with more and more instruments fading in: low, swelling guitar chords, laconic banjos, mournful harmonies. Whether the song would matter as much if it were stripped of its expert treatment is another issue. As a stylistic exercise it’s both technically impressive yet somewhat unengaging, an impression at least one other tune, the opener “The Last Migration”, also left me with.

None of The Youngs is cheap or manipulative however, it’s all an honest treat for the ears and the sonic detail is fantastic. The unsettling decay of “Again for Love” from a slow, heartachy lament into a disturbed, brooding and beatless string of rootless chords is exactly the kind of challenge to expectations a hungry music fan waits for. “The Industrial Way” is a paranoid ode to urban dystopia that builds through an unpredictable set of changes to a nifty hard-rock riff, with maybe a bit too much studio magic distraction along the way. But the Youngs are aiming awfully high with their combination of theoretical cleverness, production skills and worldly lyrics and I may be too easily distracted myself by the easy pleasures of their sound and as a result, give short shrift to their songs.

Then again, it doesn’t really seem as though I am, huh? The Youngs is an example of a record that grows on you insidiously. I admit to being put off by things like “Breakdown” and its herky-jerky electro at first, or the clanging “Pride and Shame” with Tim Youngs lascivious vocal (and spacey Gong-like saxophone break), but, upon reflection, I could find no sensible reason for it. The creeping close-mindedness of complacent middle-class existence on the reviewers’ part may be the culprit here, but with the overall amount of ambition and skill on display here, I’d venture to say that even a reviewer shouldn’t put you off this shining example of marital bliss and its musical possibilities. This duo won’t remain obscure for long.

Reviewed by: Chuck Zak

Reviewed on: 2004-10-20

Log In to Post Comments
No comments posted.
all content copyright 2004