Saturday, March 16, 2013

REVIEW: Young Dreams - Between Places

Young Dreams is a Norwegian band, labelmates (on Modular Recordings) of Tame Impala. Unlike the guitar-based psychedelia of Tame Impala, Young Dreams are playing a baroque, very Beach Boys-inspired style of pop rock - but they're not completely leaving out dance, psychedelic or world music touches.

It's a record that, to me, reveals its charms on repeated listens. The first time through, the production values and big synthesizer sounds tend to overwhelm the melody - but listen again, and the utter charm of Young Dreams' approach becomes apparent. This is super-sunny pop music. Just in case the album cover, or the photo accompanying the single "First Days of Something" don't make it apparent, the music will: Norway's Young Dreams are making a summer soundtrack.

Here's the advance single "First Days Of Something":

The delicate guitars play just behind the beat, then about a minute in there's an afro-pop riff that jumps up, then fades back into the mix, where the vocals (lead and the angelic harmonies) take over. The beat fades into and out of the foreground. There's a lot going on, and it's all calculated for maximum enjoyment - I might even say, happiness... and the last minute or so of the song is pure bliss.

Here's "Fog of War":

And it is another pretty song, full of pop features that blend together into what would most certainly have been a massive radio hit when the radio was full of baroque stuff like this from the likes of Brian Wilson and Todd Rundgren.

And speaking of the continuing pop music influence of Brian Wilson - holy cow, check out the vocal harmonies in this cover of Tame Impala's "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards":

(this cut is not on the album, it's being released as part of another Modular release - a bundle of covers and remixes)

The album continues to reveal itself - just the 10:00-plus "The Girl That Taught Me to Drink and Fight" has plenty to keep you going - with pristine vocal harmonies, an insistent beat and a musical vocabulary that moves seamlessly from rock guitars to orchestral strings, and in places combines them. This is a record you will want to keep in the rotation for a while, and probably take back out when summer comes along. It was released Mar 2 in Australia, Mar 4 in Europe and Mar 5 (USA).

Young Dreams Website

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