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Young People - All At Once




Young People's style is definitely very minimal. The central focus of most of these tracks is Katie Eastman's warbling vocals supported by some subtle instrumentation. Eastman's vocals are certainly very distinct. At times her voice has tinges of Bjork but most of the time they wouldn't be out of place in a smoky jazz bar. To some extent the bands stripped back style suits Eastman's vocals extremely well but in some places the lack of complexity in the music impinges on the effect of the vocals.

  
  

‘Reapers' is one of the better tracks on the album. The choppy piano at the start builds momentum and stops abruptly, only to start up again. Eastman's vocals roll over the top in waves complimenting the piano nicely. Another clear standout is ‘The Clock'. Beginning with hushed vocals, solemn piano and creeping base it suddenly breaks out into a busy boisterous piano number half way only to drop back to its origins for the last portion of the track.

  
  

Sadly these highlights are spread thin throughout the album. Songs such as ‘Dark Rainbow' and ‘Your Grave' attempt to conjure up a dark, somber mood and only partially succeed. Perhaps it is because there is just not enough happening instrumentally to sustain any interest. Given that both of those tracks are 3 minutes long, that's a fairly fatal blow.

  
  

All At Once clocks it at just under 30 minutes and to be honest there aren't really enough highlights in that time. You certainly can't accuse Young People of being generic or formulaic but a lot of the time there is no real purpose to the tracks and they drift and meander along aimlessly. Perhaps that's what Young People intended but for me the whole art/folk thing doesn't come off. And whilst it's not to my liking I simply can't shake the feeling that somewhere in the world there is a room full of beatniks standing around stroking their beards, adjusting their berets and really enjoying this album.

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