REVIEW: YOUNG MAGIC – MELT (2012)
After four single releases in 2011, Brooklyn based Young Magic is ready to release their first LP Melt on February 14th via Carpark Records. The album includes seven new tracks meshed with the four previously released singles, making a uniquely cohesive sounding collection. The songs were recorded in seventeen different cities around the world including Melbourne, Berlin, Reykjanesbaer and Buenos Aires, which lends a very worldly feel to the album. Especially in terms of the percussion, which often steals the show, the album has an extremely tribal and earthy sounding landscape. All three members of Young Magic have blogs highlighting their individual interests and most predominantly their love of all things visually beautiful. Artfully manipulated gritty Holga photography, psychedelically colorful retro style art and raw black and whites all seem to be deeply appreciated by the entire band and is evident in their music which evokes a very visual experience.
I was lucky enough to catch Young Magic open for Youth Lagoon back in November. I had never heard their stuff prior to seeing them live and was floored when I heard them play “Sparkly”, the album’s opening track and one of my favorites on the record. In an otherwise gentle, whimsical sounding song, the percussion unleashes a chorus of what sounds like a collection of jingling coins, tapping of rusted tin tans and rattling glass jars supported by bursts of beautifully rhythmic pounding drums. “You With Air” is a gigantic piece, with layers of hand claps, chanting choruses and aggressive synths, interestingly enhanced by a track of subtle voices underneath and vocals by Isaac Emmanuel that have brief moments that hold hints of a rhyming style. A smoother, more romantic “A Night In the Ocean” was also previously released, and is a great example of how Young Magic makes music with a vibrant visual aspect. It’s easy to daydream a tranquil, sensual escape with this song as a backdrop.
A toy piano, distorted childlike vocal samples and sweet harmonies actually give the heavy reverb on “The Dancer” a playful, yet eerily haunting feel. My other favorite song on the record is the closing “Drawing Down The Moon”, a breathtakingly dreamy song complete soothing drum loop, billowy arrangement, and whispery vocals that is much like a late night lullaby.
I feel like I would be doing a disservice to attempt to compare the aptly titled Melt to any other recent releases by similar artists, because any comparison would be very loosely similar at best. Young Magic has done a really great job creating not just a sound that’s theirs, but an overall vibe that is all their own. Are they a new generation of artist that has a deep fondness for the vintage allure of the psychedelic movement? Are they wandering gypsies that let their travels solely influence their creativity? Are they earthy hippies that just love a good electro jam session? You can’t nail a label on them without a level of doubt, but regardless of being unconfined in a definitive style, they manage to make a solid mark in music with Melt, and that is worth more than the badge of a genre. Although Melt may be slightly too experimental for massive mainstream success, it’s definitely worth a listen and will be appreciated by music lovers that enjoy pulling apart multi-layered tracks and get excited each time they hear something that they didn’t notice the time before. Each time through has been a different experience for me, and that is what makes bands like Young Magic so terribly intriguing.