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- Amplifying Host by Richard Youngs
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 15 July 2011
Now on his billionth album, Scottish minimal folk master and vegan cookbook author Richard Youngs returns with more excellent if jarring work. Having listened to roughly one in three of Youngs's albums it seems whichever style he chooses he throws in the odd curve-ball to stop the album being completely enjoyable, at one time preferring to replace his vocals with kazoo. Here its the jarring notes from the electric guitar that disturb the equilibrium. We don't want anything getting too nice do we? Despite the interruptions this once again is a beautiful work. The stretched out vocals and Nick Drake style picked acoustic guitar are similar to that explored on still (to these ears at least) his high water mark 'Sapphie'. Youngs's voice now almost exactly recalls that of Robert Wyatt in tone and texture though he chooses to use it in a much more discordant manner. He's accompanied by excellent understated drumming by Damon Krukowski (Damon and Naomi) and like a lot of Youngs's other work it's not always an easy listen and my comfortable, pampered ears would sometimes like to see him pursue a more straightforward melodic path just to see what happens. The early Pink Floyd like electric guitar interjections can be annoying over the course of the record and there's lots of reminders of Youngs's improv background but Youngs is a one off who we must treasure, particularly when he hits the nail on the head as on the lengthy 'Too Strong for Power' or the gorgeous 'A Hole in the Earth'.
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