Review : The Young - Dub Egg
PopmattersAustin, Texas’ the Young have been together since 2007, and have been shapeshifting since, trying to find their sound, figure out their place. They started as a punky rock band, but rather than settle in with the rest of the garage-rockers in Austin, they pushed forward, changing lineups and textures and sound so that the band that put a single out on Matador’s 2010 Austin-focused compilation, Casual Victim Pile, sounded little like the band that released its first full-length, Voyagers of Legend, on Mexican Summer a year later. That album, nerdy sci-fi title aside, was a major step forward into jittery, echoing, gauze-pop, a mix of classic rock and hazy home-recordings that saw them branching out into their own sound. They were finding themselves, and making some damn fine music doing it.
Now the band has returned to Matador for its second record, Dub Egg, and if the title is once again mercurial—it came from a dream one band member had once—the music continues to improve, to become refined. Voyagers of Legend succeeded on pure, shaking energy, even if its layers got crowded and clustered up and confused in some places. Dub Egg, recorded in a week in a cabin in the woods—with a few overdubs afterward—improves on that record’s discoveries in every way. This isn’t the game changer for the band its predecessor was, but it’s a much more confident and assured record, one that finds the players not breaking new ground, but making the most of the new thing they’ve discovered. Where so many artists are happy to do a new thing with mediocrity and move on, the ever-shifting Young seem to have found a space to clear out and make their own on Dub Egg.
The most impressive thing about the Young is how they sound so, well, old. That is not to say they’re throwbacks, but rather that they just sound naturally aged. The guitar tones have an organic wear to them, the drums shuffle like they grew up watching both Levon Helm slide and John Bonham crash all over the kit. The lead guitar on “Livin’ Free” feels modern enough, wobbling with effects, but the rhythm work is ringing, clear distortion, something pulled straight from the Crazy Horse playbook. A similar interplay of gliding lead guitar over crunchy chords drives the expansive thump of “Dance with the Ramblers”, a song that starts with lean punk energy and singer Hans Zimmerman sounding like the snotty younger brother of Iggy Pop, before it opens up into guitar-hero theatrics in its second half....full text
DustedmagazineThe Young make rock that implies something heavier than what comes out of the speakers. Hans Zimmerman’s high, breathy singing holds back more emotion than it gives, and it sits half-buried under guitars on the cusp of fuzzing out, but which really aren’t that loud. A track like "Don’t Hustle for Love" is tight power-pop that’s slightly slower and less jaunty than would be expected. It shuffles, but creaks at the joints. Taken on it’s own, it’s a "hey, now we’re getting rolling" kind of song. In the context of Dub Egg, its as rolling as things get, a two-minute spurt before tracks start unraveling.
Zimmerman has played in a bunch of hardcore bands over the years, resolutely anti-art fun — one off-the-cuff cassette release was called Woman in Prison, another Army of Jesus. It’s the sort of up yours rock that glowers at indie bands who have the potential of pleasing the great well-washed. The Young are like a project they’d glower at, signed to Matador after an excellent 2010 debut, creating songs of interlocking guitars with shiny tones.
Yet, if the riffs The Young play could fuel Cheap Trick hits, the delivery is arid and uncomfortably still at times. Zimmerman is committed to a downtempo feel that’s not only the opposite of hardcore, but also disqualifies him from the typical pro-am indie. They’re from Texas, and geography seeps in. When the songs open up, it feels the prelude to a jam, but no solos appear, just motoring through a prairie. The dedication to easy tempos might be where the "dub" in the album title comes in. There’s nothing here to recall the genre (save a sneer at the sudden hipness of all things hyphenated thusly as dub), but you can’t have a fast dub track, either....full text
SputnikmusicAn album sprawling in every conceivable dimension the spring season has to offer, boasting the best parts of its influences though their own unique and approachable filter.
Shoegaze is a very specific genre. It’s not a broad and general genre like Grunge, shoegaze completely embodies and represents a scene and style that is defined by a bold time-stamp. Because of this, when incorporating influence from a genre as identified with a certain time into a band’s sound, or all together attempting the genre completely, the influence has to be measured with care.
When in a sense trying to revive a genre as specific as shoegaze, bands make the mistake of letting their influence get out of hand due to a lack of breathing room to work with the substance of the genre’s aspects, as they are so specific, and they end up imitating and trying to relive everything about the essence of the sound, except of a lesser and un-inventive quality.
The Young fortunately do not fall into the open trap of attempting to relive 1991 when establishing a primarily shoegaze oriented sound. The Young take the best and most classic sounds and elements of Shoegaze, Dream Pop, and Ethereal Wave, but doesn’t use the grainy and dark atmosphere of the late 80’s and early 90’s as a vehicle to drive their sound. Instead, The Young retains the bleak distortion of the droning guitars, and the lite as a cloud touch of dreamily soft psychedelia, but opts for a bright, upbeat, and summery production to act as the foundation, breathing with organic and natural life through an indie rock and indie-psych like atmosphere reminiscent of a spring mood.
The record feels free, and has a scale comparable to that of one being outdoors, in that it is apparent that there is an unlimited and expansive world around itself, but doesn’t necessarily size itself to encompass these heights, allowing this feeling serve as an expansive contrast to the experience.
The high points hands down lie with the guitar work, varying among the tracks from wailing and screechy with noise in raw fashion, to near hypnotizing trance that despite while droning, flows like a smooth breeze. The faint jingles of wind-chimes that appear at subtle points on the album literally sound as if wind is blowing through them. Although the band’s sound as a whole is pleasantly nostalgic of their idol’s glory days from the ambient pointers derived from My Bloody Valentine and The Smashing Pumpkins, right down to vocal delivery of Hans Zimmerman that strike up memories of Jane’s Addiction....full text
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