Following a trio of acclaimed EP’s, the past several months have seen some changes within the Youth Man camp. Acclaimed for their feverish and primal DIY aesthetic and sound, the collective recently saw the departure of their respective bassist before signing to the youthful Alcopop! Records. Rather than seeking another member, the project marched on as a duo, forging and creating their latest offering, simply titled Five Songs. Whilst their characteristic and distinguishable sound remains evident, Youth Man have trimmed and refined their output, resulting in an EP that is both familiar but contains matured insight sure to raise the collective eyebrows of their loyal fanbase.
Opening with the twirling yet ominous ‘Mainland’ before sailing freely into the twitching pulse of ‘Valley Girl’, the trembling and anxious agipunk sound remains but more comes across more literate and coherent. The unpinpointable emotion, anxiety and frustration swims freely across these five tracks but is presented without the overbearing riotous and discordant aggression of their adolencence. Whilst this implies a level of restraint, the adolescent and vigorous energised sound is transparently evident yet more self-aware and channeled into a sound that’s compressed yet fluent. Of course, traces of their wild and chaotic youth remain, with the speeding anxiety attack atmospherics of ‘Constantly’ envisioning images of severe claustrophobia.
However, it appears such sonic claustrophobia and frustrated intensity is channelled from authentic experience. According to the act, Five Songs was written whilst the band were rattling around Europe in the van, an experience that can quickly turn unpleasant after a prolonged experience of time. Such feelings of anxiety, frustration and mental fatigue are not only expressed lyrically, but beautifully through the twitching and convulsing contemporary punk laced structures. There’s the feeling that not only have Youth Man evolved and matured, bring their sound with them into the educated mental state that age and experience brings, but that there are far more musically developed in order to illustrate such feelings in manner that resonates their identity in a much more literate fashion. In all, Five Songs is a collection is more than a collection of tracks; it’s a detailed snapshot into the minds of a musical powerhouse of a duo who have taken the time to revise and improve their sound whilst still retaining the chaotic energy of their youth.