Richard Youngs



by joshuatree EMERITUS
March 5th, 2009 | 3 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Oh, how I wish it was May right now. May’s basically the perfect month; a month filled with perfectly breezy and lazy days, days where flowers brought upon from April showers finally bloom, days where temperatures average out in the area of 70 or 80, even in the depressing upper regions of northern Indiana. How I yearn for May. Instead, it’s goddamn March, where it’s warm enough for the snow to melt, but not enough for anything to grow-- everything’s cold and dead outside. It’s ironically the kind of environment that Richard Youngs’ May seemed birthed from; either Youngs was yearning for May as well when he titled this 2002 album, or Mays are completely different in Scotland compared to Indiana.

My reasoning behind this belief-- that May was created in a cold environment, despite its name-- comes from the frigid and lonely feel of the music. Like Sapphie before it, May is a sparse, cold work, best for playing on lonely, dark, freezing winter nights. Songs consist of no more than Youngs’ ghostly vocals and wistful lyrics, acoustic guitar, and (usually) a repetitive melody. Youngs mixes a bit with this formula a bit with opener “Neon Winter”, where his shrill, overly minimalistic guitar playing and moaning vocals create a yearning, sad atmosphere; it’s also not pleasant to listen to at all. “Neon Winter” seems like an attempt to rip off the formula of enigmatic outsider and frequent collaborator Jandek, and what barely works for that reclusive Texan certainly doesn’t for this Scot. It’s too sparse, too depressing, and too outwardly emotional for comfort. It’s a heart being shown bare, and it’s a bloody sight.

Disregarding the opener, May is a magnificent album: one that doesn’t feature the annoying double-tracking that plagued the later Autumn Response, and one that’s warmer than the frost-bitten territories of Sapphie. “Trees That Fall” is a mid-paced (fast for the usually meandering Youngs) track that’s actually pretty catchy, and Youngs’ playing and deeper vocals help gather a case for “Trees That Fall” being the most accessible Youngs track to date. “Gliding” and “Wynding Fields of Maine” are more traditional Youngs material, or at least when he’s in his sadsack, acoustic-wielding mode: Sapphie’s formula of repetitive melodies and (acoustic) guitar playing, longer songs, and heartfelt vocals and lyrics can all be found. May eventually ends on the spacious “Wynd Time Wynd”, where Youngs dips in and out of silence, never letting a consistent sound form. It’s a haunting effect, and one that’ll haunt you far after May ends, never-minding if you’re listening to or doing something else. It’s the reason you’ll continue to come back to May, for months and possibly years to come.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 5th 2009


wrong august is the perfect month

still great review, kinda like the intro.

March 5th 2009


wrong august is the perfect month

depends where you live i guess

March 6th 2009


true true

for oklahoma, its august.

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