Review Summary: Sittin' by the radio, I had the strangest feeling...
What is it about April that fascinates Adrian Younge? Is it the promise of spring in the height of its glory, of days upon days of warm sun and cool breezes? Is it childhood memories of beaches and lemonade and holidays? Is it just a catchy album title?
Whatever Younge's association with the month is, it's one strongly tinted by nostalgia and romance. Something About April II
features an array of unconventional instrumentation and guest vocalists, but it manages to stick to a core formula of deep-chested soul and excessively catchy melodies. You could call Something About April II
a throwback, but Younge seems less interested in calling back to any particular age of music history and more concerned with chasing some distant, sepia-toned memory down the hallways of his mind.
Younge does not shy away from tried-and-true subjects, including the exultation of music's ability to make us feel in "Magic Music" and "Sittin' By the Radio" to hapless love on "Sandrine". Having said that, there are times he dispenses with the romanticism to present something more wistful, for example the meditative "Ready to Love", which tells of a deep love which is punctuated by something "sombre [and] menacing". The climax of the album arrives in the stunning "April Sonata", an instrumental piece which blends the varying moods of the album effortlessly into a yearning ode to, well, april.
In essence, Younge is really only doing what thousands of artists have done before him – using his talent to chase an escaped feeling, to recapture good times or relive past glories. There's no denying it's well-trodden ground at this point, even if he is walking it with new shoes and a certain sense of style. If Something About April II
and Younge's many collaborations with big names are anything to go by, it may be time to stop looking to the past and instead turn towards the future.