2 Young Fathers: Dead

Where do you start with Young Fathers’ debut? It’s an introduction into a World that’s at least as evocative and thrilling as the Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)’, even if that debut was quite clearly a hip-hop release and to simply label this album under the same genre can’t help but feel like laziness- it’s kind of hip-hop but at the same time frequently something else entirely, constantly taking turns off I into weirder and weirder places without ever sounding strange. Young Fathers have a marvellous and intense (‘intense’ is apparently the one word that comes to mind when meeting the band) desire and ability to experiment and challenge their sound, while at the same time possessing an innate understanding of how to pull off an absolutely storming chorus and every song here is nailed down to a delicious melody that ensures no cattle’s ever too spooked by the record’s inherent craziness. While the band are based in Edinburgh, and the music at times has a wonderful ‘Edinburgh Tattoo hip-hop’ (Edip Tattop? Eugh that’s horrible, forget I said anything)approach,there are even splashes of digitised bagpipe sounds occasionally sprinkled over the songs, which somehow manages to sound brilliant and in no way as crap as you’d quite justifiably imagine, but ‘Dead’ is a very international sounding album, the results of how brilliant a melting pot of different cultures and styles can be. Of the band’s three members Kayus Bankole spent a lot of his formative years living in his parents’ homeland of Nigeria, while Alloysious Massaquoi (these names are requiring some furious copying and pasting) was born in Liberia and moved to Edinburgh aged 4 (G Hastings, born in Scotland to Scottish parents, much be rather self-conscious about being the ‘boring’ member) and their sound is a wonderful aural example of the kind of majesty possible with immigration, how the introduction of different cultures doesn’t in any way result in the ‘watering down’ of any one way of life, but rather introduces a thrilling third way that is like a wonderful amalgamation of what has gone before it. Right, now I just need to somehow manufacture a baby born to Kayus Bankole and Sharon van Etten (hang on, that’s eugenics isn’t it? Yeah, better scrap that idea). To be honest, I was seriously considering making this number one outright until the record became a gloriously surprising winner of the Mercury Prize (rarely has an album deserved the accolade more) and it all became a bit too obvious (like the winner isn’t obvious already). Like I say though, these top three are pretty much interchangeable, it’s all meaningless, get over it.

The next album wasn’t even nominated for the Mercury Prize! Bloody immigrants, coming over here, stealing our awards…

Full album

Cover

Jeff collapses in tears onto Paul’s shoulder.

‘Don’t you see!?’

He cries out through his sobs.

‘They were holding hands ready to embrace death! All of the toys!’

3/5

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