Having made music for over two decades, Richard Youngs is still an anomaly in experimental music - he does not cheapen his style by simplying pushing it to various extremes, yet still manages to be relevant and produce interesting music that challenges us and the rest of his work. Most well known for his melancholic folk record Sapphie
, which was dedicated to his canine companion of the same name, the 'breakthrough' success of that record did two things for Youngs - it greatly popularised his eclectic style but it also cast shadows over his other material. Thus, it's unlikely that a good portion of Sapphie fans like or have even heard any of his other records.
This leaves us in a possibly troublesome position; having Sapphie
as an indicator of Youngs' style sets many up for disappointment. A lot of his music, particularly records such as Autumn Response
or Beyond the Valley of the Ultrahits
are initially cold and unaffecting, perhaps even dispassionate. Of course these early perceptions of the records are entirely wrong, but it is important to recognise that Youngs does not cater for short attention spans. Core to the Brave
adheres rather strongly to the typical Youngs method - the record has a constant feeling of tumultuousness, a sense that everything could give way at any second. Even when the songs dip into pensive moods, Youngs keeps listeners on the very edge.
Core to the Brave
is essentially a very simple album. It consists of mostly frenetic and noisy bass and drum rhythm work, with guitar fuzz interspersed amongst the general clatter. Youngs sings contemplatively over said music, creating a really weird juxtaposition which at first seems almost incompatible. The closest comparison that I could make would be the early works of groups like Suicide
, though while sounding aesthetically similar one would not really call Core to the Brave
a synth punk record. Its inability to be categorised definitely helps create a unique niche for the record in my listening rotation. and having lost myself in the album for over a month, you can be assured that its simple formula is not only strangely addictive but also emotionally engaging.