Younghusband: Dromes (Sonic Cathedral)

Neo-psych rockers triumph on dazzling debut LP

Released Sep 16th, 2013 via Sonic Cathedral / By Richard Lewis
Younghusband: Dromes (Sonic Cathedral) While psychedelia is currently going through a wide-spread renaissance, with the emphasis largely on groove-heavy sonic leviathans, the poppier end of the spectrum can sometimes be overlooked.

Self described with the winning sobriquet of ‘Death Petal’ on their Facebook page, Londoners Younghusband successfully combine the ethereal element of psychedelia along with the persuasive uncoiling rhythms of Krautrock whilst all the time keeping the tunes well within earshot on debut LP Dromes.

Featuring several already released tracks that have seeped from the studio over the past two years, the quartet were first sighted via impressive double A-side ‘Carousel’ / ‘Nothing Nothing’, before they had even played live, while follow up ‘Constantly in Love’, (which appears in re-recorded form here) served notice of a sizeable talent.

Their name explained as similar to how ‘Nineties bands would stick two words together as one’ (Slowdive, Swervedriver, Stereolab, Chapterhouse) coupled with the vintage oil screen artwork, the elements work together to indicate where the listener is headed, matching the melodicism of the psych originators with the sonic power of the 1990s practitioners.

American producer Nicholas Vernhes brings his exemplary CV (Deerhunter/Wild Nothing) along with pin-sharp clarity to proceedings, the tracks’ simple motifs overlaid with sparing guitar arpeggios and keyboard descants allowing ample room for Euan Hinshelwood’s soft vocal incantations.

Commencing with ‘Running Water’, a relentless acoustic strum and overlapping vocals backed with police-siren organ keys, the track has a unresolved edginess to it, a bold intriguing opening salvo.

The band’s best known cut to date, ‘Comets Crossed’ appears next, a brilliant distillation of the group’s sound, spacious bass and keys providing the bedrock with the simple switch to a classic Motown drumbeat halfway through building the song’s momentum.

‘Left of the Rocks’ underpinned by Hammond organ keys that swim in and out of the verses and constant maraca shaking calls the first generation of psych bands to mind, with the (sort of ) untitled instrumental * that appears fifth winding its way along on an almost bossa nova beat reminiscent of The Doors’ touchstone ‘Riders on the Storm’.

The perfectly titled ‘Sunstroke’ meanwhile creates the feel of a languid afternoon in sonic form, a heat hazed shimmer that glides along sublimely.

Recent single ‘Silver Sisters’ concludes Side One in stunning fashion, a foundation of perpetually ascending Hammond organ melodies and just out of earshot lyrics understandably pulled from the LP as a recent single.

Kicking off Side Two ‘Reunion Message’ centred around a strident rhythm section pulse, led by vocals swimming in pools of heavy reverb, the words largely indiscernible above the Krautrock groove until the mysterious repeated payoff of the chorus, ‘I couldn’t provide’.

Via second instrumental sliver ** ‘Wavelength’, led by buzzsaw acoustic guitar then bursting into life on the back of a effective guitar figure is one of the most immediate tracks here, while ‘Divisions’ efficiently compacts a lengthy psych wig out into the space of three minutes.

Penultimate cut, ‘Constantly in Love’, the sound of Sigur Ros if they played in waltz-time and sang in English, dexterously tiptoes along, burning its way into the conscious deliciously.

Heading for the run out groove the title track, a Velvet Underground stomp that almost breaks the five minute barrier is the longest track present, the band letting their maximalist tendencies run free.

With barely a duff track in sight and the thrilling indication they really are just getting started, Younghusband’s long journey from debut single to first album has clearly paid off. Welcome to the Pleasure Drome(s).