Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Young Dreams - Between Places (2013)

Bergen, Norway's second largest city, tends to be a particularly rainy place. So it makes a strange sort of sense that instead of writing gloomy, dismal ballads that instead the Norwegian sextet Young Dreams turns toward warmer climes crafting a sort of bright, dreamy, and most importantly sunny style of tropical infused pop rock.

While largely marketed as a orchestral pop band, the real surprise of Between Places is that there's much more at play in Young Dreams than that. Sure, there's some rather stellar string arrangements featured among many of its key songs (The dazzling "Fog of War" outro immediately springs to mind) but the majority of Young Dreams' members wield very rock-friendly instruments. There's no denying a symphonic influence, especially when listening to sprawling 10 minute opus "The Girl That Taught Me To Drink And Fight" and its delicate ebb and flow or the choir-like stylings of "Through the Turnstiles" but many of the tracks on the album take their marching orders not from the classical-leanings but instead a very evident desire for pop mastery. They're ear-catching, the melodies simple and clear; a sort of foot-tapping danceability scattered among most of them.  It's the best of both worlds, actually. The poppy lilt carrying the songs forward while the arrangements transform them into truly memorable musical moments. The sweeping string ornaments making Young Dreams' ability to pull at heartstrings even more successful, more pronounced. 

Between Places is escapism at it's finest. Not only channeling the Bergen six-piece's dreams of greener, less wet pastures but also suiting up their love songs in all sorts of fancy dressings. That's not to say all the songs rely as heavily on fantastical narratives like "Fog of War" and it's gladiator epic but they're far more than your typical sappy love songs. On Between Places, Young Dreams tap into exactly how it feels to be in the midst of youth; hopeful, passionate, vaguely nostalgic but always forward-looking. 

Young Dreams' incredible debut record Between Places is out now worldwide. You can stream it here as well as buy it from the wide majority of retailers. I highly recommend doing so. 

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