Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy Music Album Reviews

Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy Music Album Reviews
Defined by small acts of joyful resistance, the Edinburgh group’s fourth album is a celebration of music as shared and spontaneous practice.

For the past 10 months, the cavernous Duveen Galleries of London’s Tate Britain—the art gallery named for the sugar magnate who funded it—have featured a Technicolor parade of figures of all shapes and sizes, draped in maps, money, patchwork flags, hoodies, and ornamental masks. Some ride horses, some drag captives. It’s a cacophonous thing, detailed to the point of near infinity, awash with messages but ultimately defined by sheer feeling. It’s beautiful, unsettling, messy, at once engaging and combative: a mix of matte and shiny, rich and rough materials, cardboard, cloth, and wire. It reads like a poem. The work, titled The Procession, is by Edinburgh-born, Guyana-raised, England-returned artist Hew Locke. When Young Fathers producer Graham “G” Hastings visited the exhibition in person, three years deep into the making of his band’s fourth album, he was struck by the way the work seemed to offer “a full stop” to his own group’s effort: a summation of the ideas that he and his Edinburgh bandmates Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole had been working on. Their album, Heavy Heavy, shares some of The Procession’s immersive qualities; it invites the listener to join in, to stand up and sing. It might also be the band’s best yet.

Young Fathers have often gestured at meaning but ended up with obfuscation—whether by the nature of their impenetrable yet poetic lyrics or the grab bag of genres and musical conventions they like to rifle through. If 2018’s Cocoa Sugar offered a stiff corrective, zeroing in on tighter, more conventional pop forms, then Heavy Heavy is the lingering afterburn. They carry forward Cocoa Sugar’s lessons (songs should be three minutes long and laden with irresistible hooks) but cast off the stiffness. Here, unburdened, vibes are the only guide. And from the opening woody drag of the bassline on “Rice” to the chug and claps of “Holy Moly,” Heavy Heavy bursts with overwhelming momentum, as if to say, “Keep up, if you can.”

In the midst of sessions for the album, Hastings picked up a National Geographic Through the Lens photobook from a nearby charity shop. He chopped it up and then pinned the cuttings around the group’s Edinburgh studio, conjuring an imaginary audience for the group to sing to and engage in a communal act of music-making. Bankole’s trips to Ghana and Ethiopia during the band’s time off between albums also helped to inform their approach. There, he witnessed singing as a shared, everyday, and often spontaneous practice. Singing can be freeing, and a sense of soulful liberation leads the action throughout Heavy Heavy: in the not-quite-harmonies and ad-libbed improvisations of the ascendant “Geronimo,” the woven call-and-response of “Drum,” the gentle swells of “Ululation.” Early highlight “Tell Somebody” manages to be both dense and delicate at the same time, like cotton candy, or the most inviting cloud.

On these rails, simple meditations like “I need to eat more rice” and “Put it all on the line” become transformative, gospel-like in their affirmation. The album is defined by these small acts of joyful resistance, rather than, as previously, simple rage against the dying of the UK’s ever-dimming light. It’s not a surprise to learn that the trio plumbed the raw, kitchen-sink folk traditions of Roberto De Simone and records by the electric-guitar-and-kick-drum-wielding Rev. Louis Overstreet, whose own bluesy rock’n’roll take on gospel has refused simple definition. Rather than seeking their niche among contemporaries, or finding a reason to be heard, Young Fathers have simply hit the record button and existed (in tight, three-minute bursts). Some old habits are hard to kill: Lyrics often add more texture than meaning, and the scatty opening to “Shoot Me Down” threatens briefly to derail the whole thing—until it evaporates into a wash of vocals that recall TV on the Radio at their most emotive, or Saul Williams at his most soothing.

Heavy Heavy sweeps its listener along, churchlike, and conveys the feeling that resisting the urge will always feel worse than rising up and pushing the air from your lungs. And then, after a brief 10 tracks, it’s all over—as if the procession has marched on, out of earshot. But the invite is still there extended: It’s up to you whether to accept it or not.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy Music Album Reviews Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 14, 2023 Rating: 5


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