The RingMaster Review: The Youth "Nothing But ..."
Having been thrilled and seduced by the contagious revelry of their recent single Fancy You, the anticipation for the debut album from Danish rockers The Youth, was as excited as it has been for any release this year. Now that Nothing But… unveils its collection of flavoursome rock ‘n’ roll on Dirty Water Records, it has to be said that thoughts and hopes actually underestimated what was to come. The album is a glorious stomp of creative passion, a fiery blaze of raw and voracious sound which is as contagious in its unpolished sonic enterprise as it is addictive in the honest and organic energy which fuels it. The album is as much punk as it is beat, as potent in blues as it is garage rock, but ultimately it a release bridging nostalgia and modern ingenuity for an essential r’n’b bred triumph.
The Copenhagen quartet of guitarists Jesper Jensen and Lasse Tarp, bassist David Peter Jørgensen, and drummer Sune Christian Thomsen unveiled The Youth in 2012 and swiftly were making their mark and earning acclaim through their live performances around their homeland and across Europe, including festivals and clubs in England, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Italy, and Spain. They earned a rich reputation for their energetic stage presence and sound; the latter certainly confirmed and reinforced by the aforementioned limited edition 7” single Fancy You, as well as other tracks unveiled previously. Nothing But… is a new ballgame from the band though, a proposition with all the majesty and melodic fury to push The Youth into the most potent spotlight and a pinnacle for not only the band but modern r ‘n’ b.
From the opening rapping of beats and riffs on ears, the swagger which radiated out of the band’s last single is there in full stride as Come On eagerly leaps upon the imagination. It is an instant temptation for feet and emotions as grooves and melodic hooks ensnare a waiting appetite and a rhythmic shuffle takes the body. The vocals of the band equally incite a keen response which the song’s addictive chorus exploits to full effect. With a healthy tinge of power pop to its beat urgency, the song is a quick fire persuasion to set the release off in fine style, a dramatic entrance soon surpassed by the following Looking at You. With the riveting skill and charm of a bluesy harmonica incitement as vocal as the rhythms and jangling riffs filling the start, the track stirs up a raw bluster which is as much seeded in seventies punk abrasion as it is in sixties beat vivacity. It is as contagious as it gets in music, the variation of vocals as exciting as the heavy fleet footed sounds which frame and shape the first pinnacle of the album. A song which should undoubtedly be the next widely spread single, it is an irresistible gateway into the compelling world of The Youth.
Both You’re Leaving and Girls Like You keeps things creatively and energetically rampant, the first a soulful flame of potent sonic simplicity aligned to a melodic web around harmonious vocals and the second, a busy and sultry dance of inventive and rhythmic agitation under a hazy atmosphere. It is a captivating incitement especially when briefly drifting into a delicious discord lit twist of adventure, and a song to have dance halls a blur of swerving and inflamed bodies.
Bubblegum strolls in next with open confidence in its gait and enticement. An initial throaty bass and crisp drum sculpted bait sets the first incendiary kindling of the song which catches fire a second time with the coaxing flames of harmonica within an entangle of riffs and melodies. As all the songs on the album, it defies feet to stay still and emotions to resist its infectious energy and flirtatious charm, a point straight away confirmed by the Merseybeat lure of Vicious and its gripping and addictive sonic toxicity. With a dose of surf and garage rock spicing to its lively yet smouldering presence, the song is other diverse seduction in an album as bold and impressive in its diversity as it is in its magnetic sounds.
Already by this time listening to Nothing But… is exhausting on limbs and energy, such its insatiable revelry but there is no let up as the hungry rock ‘n’ roll of Count leaps upon ears with the energy and lustful temptation of a swingers party, and matched right away by the grooved delights of Suede. Whereas its predecessor has a modern fervour and attitude which whispers Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys, the second of the pair basks in a sixties pop flavour to its smooth and catchy recipe, The Merseybeats and Small Faces a comparable hint to its mellower but no less stirring enterprise.
The essential sounds and tunes just keep on coming, the blues infused That’s Your Problem a garage rock provocation with a punk attitude which adds yet another colour to the album. The bass and harmonica steal the show here when given space by the excellent vocal belligerence and swiping craft of the guitars. The track is a searing enjoyable punch on the senses but soon a memory once the vocal croon and jagged mastery of Save Me My Love absorbs ears and imagination. Raw and warm in equal measure, the song is another controlling shuffle for body and soul cast around a commandingly persuasive Bo Diddley bred rhythmic and riff sculpted spine.
The Norwegian Feeling is similarly constructed but soon installs its own blues and sonic identity, rhythms a pounding suasion to which guitars and bass wrap their tangy riffs and grooves, it all enhanced by excellent vocals from across the band and the scorch of harmonica beauty. Another major moment to the album in only high points, the song makes way for the swinging brilliance of About to Run; again British sixties pop essences caressing ears from within the vibrant and wonderfully raw canter, and finally the closing Baby, I’m Back. The last song coats the senses in a surf blues wash which as the vocals, simply seduces with every slow glide of its evocative texture and invention. The first time the album brings energy levels a more relaxed time, the track goes to work on thoughts and emotions with its hot climate veined with imposingly seductive and sultry rich melodies. It is a spellbinding close to a stunning album and another unique string in sound to the release’s bow.
Nothing But… is all treats and energy sapping fun provided by songs which embrace the old and new for one of the explosive and impossibly satisfying triumphs of the year. The Youth is destined to greatness, hell they are already there thanks to their stunning debut.
RingMaster 07 Oct 2014