Young Fathers
Heavy Heavy


4.4
superb

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
February 7th, 2023 | 81 replies


Release Date: 02/03/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This only works if you let go too.

In 2017 Young Fathers released their best song, "Only God Knows". Despite its status as a between-albums loosie that only appears on the Trainspotting 2 soundtrack, it best exemplifies the head-scratching mix of lo-fi basement pop, indie hip-hop and gospel that is the Scottish trio's trademark sound. The spine-tingling choir vocals in hindsight feel like a watershed moment for the band, the point in time where they started to turn away from the claustrophobic intensity of their previous work towards the light.

Assuming this interpretation holds weight, it's fair to think of "Only God Knows" as something of a skeleton key for Heavy Heavy, an ironic title for the band's most joyful and buoyant album. The lingering gospel influence has been excavated to the forefront of the band's sound, replacing much of the hip-hop they had been gradually orbiting away from. From the opening track "Rice", Heavy Heavy evokes sunny images and feelings of contentment, emphasising the real connection between the three band members, who recorded the album entirely alone in their own studio. The ebullient "Drum" evokes memories of Animal Collective at their heavily-syncopated-foot-tapping best, while "Tell Somebody" feels like a years-later revision of the heartbreaking "Am I Not Your Boy" from DEAD, here made bittersweetly optimistic by a church organ steadily rising in intensity and a vocal melody that lifts itself up to the sky. The album moves through sun-dappled psychedelic pop, indie rock and tinges of hip-hop like colours wheeling through a kaleidoscope; any given three-song stretch can recall snatches of The Avalanches, Panda Bear and Injury Reserve's By the Time I Get to Phoenix, with the smoke-choked claustrophobia replaced by a hard-won optimism.

"Just put a big 'life' sticker on it," Alloysious Massaquoi says of the album in an Irish Times interview. "Life experiences. There's a communal aspect to this album, and that's to do with people, and community, and individuals. So it's just an album about... life." Describing it as a tribute to the conflicting, contrasting moods of a New Orleans procession, Massaquoi emphasises the time spent off by all three members reconnecting with their families as a significant influence on the direction of Heavy Heavy. While Young Fathers' hip-hop days often felt mired in solitude and paranoia, and the conflicted Cocoa Sugar seemed to be looking forward to a brighter future that hadn't quite arrived - just see the yearning, heartbreaking strains of "Lord" - Heavy Heavy feels as if they've truly come to some kind of peace. It's a hell of a move, releasing an album this hopeful into a world still licking its wounds and hesitantly embracing intimacy again. But Young Fathers don't owe us anything except themselves, which Heavy Heavy feels like a true and warmly sincere extension of, a hand extended from the light across the dark, if we're willing to let go and take it.



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user ratings (140)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


47639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

bandcamp stream: https://youngfathersofficial.bandcamp.com/album/heavy-heavy



IT writeup: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/2023/01/28/young-fathers-we-were-once-called-an-experimental-rock-band/



big thanks to tyman for giving this a look for me. don't sleep on this band, the whole discog is absolutely electric

Purpl3Spartan
February 7th 2023


8619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Eyo sounds dope will check



nice writeup!

Squiggly
February 7th 2023


1264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I did not enjoy their last one but that was 5 years ago. I’m very excited to check this.

PotsyTater
February 7th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

I think if you didn’t like the last one you probably won’t like this one

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


47639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

pretty different vibes i think. this is a lot more fleshed out and full sounding than CS was

markjamie
February 7th 2023


716 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cocoa Sugar didn't do anything for me but this is great.

dedex
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


12788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Great read this one! I never fully enjoyed any of this band's past outputs, but this one is a winner

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


4871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I only mildly enjoyed the last one and I really liked this one

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


47639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

In My View still a top tier jam if nothing else

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.6

Love this review, love this album

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


60476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wanted to like this, but shit damn did this find a way to take a rly appetising melting pot of gospel studio fuckage and spill it over every single one of my least favourite vapid neo-psych cliches ew

Mort.
February 7th 2023


25115 Comments


neo-psych? ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww



JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


60476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

there are good ideas and good tracks here, but yup that anco wavyshit bullshit torpedoes a significant chunk of this like a rotten canoe in putin's cosplay pond



giving it a second spin to pin down the saving graces

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


47639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

yikes lol

PotsyTater
February 7th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

What’s your fav song Johnny? There is a clear standout for me..

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


60476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh yikes lol, wouldn't say there was a huge overall standout, but I'd pick from Tell Somebody, Ululation, Holy Moly or maybe Drum for the best

Shoot Me Down is the biggest outlier though, so i'll guess that's yours?

PotsyTater
February 7th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Geronimo.



It sounds like it would fit on one of their earlier albums

PotsyTater
February 7th 2023


10100 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

You know who is going to LOVE this?



Zak

Mort.
February 7th 2023


25115 Comments


oh shit ive just realise ive heard this band. i know that shame song

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
February 7th 2023


60476 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh snap. gettem zak

geronimo bounced right off me hmmm interesting



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