Search The Line of Best Fit
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The euphoric frustrations of Young Fathers

"White Men Are Black Men Too"

Release date: 06 April 2015
Album of the week
Young Fathers White Men Are Black Men Too
10 April 2015, 09:30 Written by Alex Lee Thomson
Unassuming saviours of Scottish soul Young Fathers have released a cavalcade of records in the last two years which have defined the trio as classifiable only as a mark of quality; characterised purely by their brilliance.

Returning so soon with a follow-up to the 2014 Mercury Prize-winning DEAD ,the new long player White Men Are Black Men Too could be many things - it is in fact many things – but it mercilessly earmarks them for more of the same acclaim. A surprise highlight of The Great Escape in 2013, surprise winners of the Mercury, with a surprisingly productive outpouring of diverse content… it seems the only thing surprising about Young Fathers is that people are still surprised by them. Expect excellence as that’s what you’re going to get, and this new record is no disappointment.

Effortlessly mirroring the requiem of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion on opener “Still Running”, Young Fathers once again leave their corner ready to fight. Readjusting their sound to set a whole new tone, White Men Are Black Men Too delivers a punky onslaught from the off - stylish, racy punk. It’s a suitable and appropriate nudge from their previous releases, making sense while changing the game, in the way a second novel might.

“Shame” could have been lifted from TV On The Radio’s Return To Cookie Mountain, tearing up a nihilistic groove with focus. There’s a seduction to it; a frantic, cinematic assertion that immediately highlights how much more involved their sound is than it was on the Tape One and Tape Two EPs. There’s a rock heart to the album, with a lot of pleasing chaos, but that earlier, soulful vocal approach isn’t completely forgotten, as shown on “27”. Cut this album in half and all the veins and loose ends from the past few years are still there, but serve now to pump blood to the meat of the band’s work.

The safety net of unambiguous hooks like those on “I Heard” have now given way to fussier melodies. It's a fair compromise, as where the band once harmonised like a pissed off Boys II Men, you now get tracks like “Sirens” and “Old Rock n Roll”. There’s still anger here though, and frustrations, delivered as euphoria. “Liberated” has a key-pounding ecclesiastic approach, echoing the madness of Jason Spaceman. Volatile however controlled, it fills the latter part of the release with splendid intricacy.

“John Doe” is altogether more jovial on the surface with whistles and pinpricks of electronic riffs, offering a sweet 1980’s indie-pop relish to “Get Started”s sweaty bitterness. Young Fathers had nothing to prove in 2015, which makes White Men Are Black Men Too such a start to finish joy to listen to. Even the tail end of the record is packed with surprises - but then again, what did you expect?

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