Mogwai/Biffy hybrids show their stuff...
So here we are. Youth Movie Strategies are making records that defy the norm, they can take their place beside the other pioneers of our new sound like Bloc Party and Mogwai before them. This music is cutting-edge and raw and the real sound of what's Happening. Forget Jet pretending it's the seventies; some bands are pushing things forward, as is this one. They're not regurgitating anything, yet are fitting into the trends of now.
Although this re-released debut album doesn't have the same ethereal feeling and dreamy lushness of Mogwai's 'Happy Songs For Happy People' the music is certainly alike, spatial and epic and full of clever instrumentation, this short album of five big songs and a remix is a remarkable launch pad for a band whose sound is revolutionary in itself and also coincides well with the way in which modern alternative music is turning.
The first track 'The Pitch and Yaw of Satellites' has a long introduction filled with odd syncopated rhythms and unusual song structure, but it becomes a very catchy number when you get into it. Andrew Mears leads the band with his vocal, a voice sounding very similar to the comforting tone of Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro. His singing and lyrics appear sparsely in the midst of the huge soundscapes, but the music has plenty to say itself, transcending words, the guitars and electronics and bass and drums speak on a separate level.
Sweeping and seeping and moving from one place to another like a strange poetic dream, the sound of this band is grand like a skyline of skyscraper tips cuddled by the vast ocean of blue and cloud. The first song is complete after nine and a half minutes and it's into 'A Little Late He Staggered Through The Door And Into Her Eyes'. After a little more hopping rhythmical madness and flitting from this to that whilst still maintaining a definite identity, the tempo increases like 'Sugar' by System of a Down as if it were performed by Biffy. The song disintegrates into a drunken yob chant held together by hand claps, which parodies and illustrates its theme entirely.
The vocal motif of "stops and starts, stops and starts, stops and starts" brings the song to a close with "stops" and the drumbeat of the next track 'Recovery Speak' seems to emulate that vocal line with cymbal and snare, which gives a quirky audio experience for the listener. It has a lovely washy intro that's a bit spacey, a bit like 'Astronomy Domine' by Pink Floyd and goes on to prove itself as a highlight of the LP.
This band can say as much with words as they can without them, in fact they tend to use more words in the titles than the songs themselves. The music serves as a great outlet for what they have to put across, as 'Spooks the Horse' demonstrates, it winds and weaves and wanders, shaping sound with more odd timings and sonic interjections akin to less mainstream music.
'Ores' is the single and it's perfect in that role, fun with handclaps and resembling Blur here and there, then transmuting into some electro-funk with a superb use of vocal harmony. It's the funky shit... The 'Spooks The Horse (65 Days of Static Remix)' starts off with a quiet touch and a few sounds of seagulls adding a little atmosphere, then it goes into a cool electronic cosmos of it's own and provides and good ender, short, snappy and sumptuous.
Altogether, it's a good-quality album, sounds new, sounds original, sounds at the same time, very much as an essential part of the new musical revolution, pioneered by the like of the influential Mogwai and Biffy Clyro. Artistic sentiment meets pop sensibility, a good mixture of the creative and the catchy. A very listenable record.