Thursday, September 27, 2012

Young Man - Vol. 1 (2012)

"Do you like Young Man?"

It was a simple enough question and one I could easily answer. Who was Young Man? I hadn't ever heard of it before. But I'm not the type to let a random unsolicited band suggestion go by unchecked and so I settled down for the night, found a stream of Young Man's recent album Vol. 1 and let the good times roll. What I heard simply defied expectation. Young Man's Vol. 1, the brainchild of Colin Caulfield, is a multi-layered, many-textured pop juggernaut.

Vol. 1 with its asymmetrical track lengths and short musical interludes ("Wasted", "Wandering") is very much an album's album. "Thoughts" covers an impressive expanse of engaging musical moments in its rather short 6 minute life - starting from its non-traditional drums that flower into minute instrumental flourishes that frame Caulfield's subtly revealed narrative. It's a track where each moment seems necessary; even Caulfield's repeated "I've been thinking" which builds to an effective climax. And this artful handling of the build-up seems to be Young Man's secret weapon - employed on the longer tracks ("Fate", "21" "Direction") to not only justify each hard-won moment but draw you across the finish line blissfully unaware of the length of the journey. Which Young Man do beguilingly well; distracting you with enough interesting details and intricate pathfinding that you're left slightly bewildered when Vol. 1 finally draws to its end.  

Vol. 1 surges with bright, jubilant moments and aptly displayed talent from Caulfield and company. Young Man demonstrates a mastery and creative use of pop akin to Yellow Ostrich or Youth Lagoon, creating not only an engrossing set of songs but a memorable and overall pleasant listening experience as a whole. While Caulfield's English lit background is sure to draw an interesting amount of attention, the real feat  is Young Man's knack for capturing moments and feelings more than any poignant lyricism from its frontman (which doesn't really jump out at you and is probably all the more better for it).

Vol. 1 is the kind of album that is sure to stay with you: little melodic moments hummed to yourself long after you're done when you're not actually able to put the record on itself. And that's perhaps its greatest strength; it's marvelous memorable and full of simplistic but beautiful melodies that gently envelop you even as every other element of the track whip frenetically around you. Among its many lush layers and impressive production, Young Man's stellar songcraft wins out and rightfully so. A splendidly delightful batch of gems that are sure to make you salivate and pine for more. Here's hoping a Vol. 2 is already on its way.

 Young Man - Do by orchardmktg

 Young Man - Fate by Frenchkiss

 Directions by xLucidity

You can stream Young Man's sophomore effort Vol. 1 on Spotify now.

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