The Youth like to wear suits like the National and make wild, outrageous rock tunes, unlike the National. Inspired by the vibe of the 60s, and sharing a reverence for blues and garage rock, The Youth have made 'Nothing But...', a collection of pop songs that exist so that they can fulfil their lifelong dream: to wear suits. Or make music, whatever.
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It's pretty hard to get excited about a band who seem to think wearing suits and well-shined shoes is actually more exciting than making the music that goes with it, but that's never stopped us appreciating the National or the Walkmen. Still, the Youth seem to try pretty hard with this stuff: on the front cover of 'Nothing But...' -- a very literal title, considering how they seem to be lost in a sea of grey -- the band are straightening out the cuffs on their shirts and folding their arms politely, hoping you'll notice their ties.
The verdict is out on whether or not they wear those suits to bed, but the music on 'Nothing But...' does sound a surprising amount like they dress: it's clean, traditional and never dares to step out of its comfort zone. These Danes play no-feathers-rustled garage rock that pines for the '60s and '70s, when guitars were shaken up politely and affably, when drums where light affectations on a song, and when a song only needed one, quick vocal hook. Even the production on 'Nothing But...' feels earnestly nostalgic, distancing the listener from the Youth as if they were on the stage in a high-rising venue, and we were on the floor, servants to the rawk.
Because it aims to be squeaky clean and loose in a very fabricated way, 'Nothing But...' feels frustratingly calculated. The handclaps are inevitable and the cadences predictable; nothing really happens. It's a decent slab of revival garage, so that doesn't really matter: it's made so that you'll be able to call back the past in a pleasant and timely fashion. But it's hard to imagine this really popping off live. Maybe in that scene from 'It's A Wonderful Life' where the swimming pool opens up and everyone falls in. That'd be pretty cool.
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