A neat collection of the very earliest material produced by DIY psychedelic crew The Underground Youth. Hazy DIY-produced songcraft with a gentle touch. The Early Recordings 2008-2009 is only available in a slender edition of 200 cassette tapes, so hurry along if you want a glimpse into this early period. From Dub Ditch Picnic.
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- The Early Recordings 2008-2009 by The Underground Youth
7/10 Robin Staff review, 22 June 2016
What were you doing in 2008? I was like seventeen so I was probably being a piece of trash; all I can say for sure is that I wasn’t listening to the Underground Youth. Way back then, back in the decade that time tried to forget, the UY were seemingly hashing out demos as if trying to capture the platonic ideal of an “early recording” -- lethargic, shaggy and sort of engagingly uninspired, these songs show off a cute band playing chord sequences that strike them, fashioned after bands for whom they found a fondness. I can relate, because I just remembered what I was doing in 2008: starting bad bands in my friend’s bedroom.
These recordings are light and quietly emotional in the way that worthwhile early tunes should be: “Closer” has a chord sequence so plaintively Cure-ian that it sounds like Craig Dyer has plugged digits into his post-punk phonebook. The drums are somewhere else completely, as they continue to be on the happy-go-strummy “Underground Youth”, in which a basic chord pattern is squeaked all over by a whistling riff. “Ride” sounds like he’s just toying with a half-finished riff and decided to put a skeleton of the track in to keep it going. “Drinking Wine With Kings” is a microwaved piece of acoustic pop, just spinning ‘round and ‘round until Dyer gets bored enough to sprinkle some synth and noise over it. It’s all good and fun, ultimately: a compilation like this lets you hear its artist stagnate and experiment in equal measure.
Most of the dissection should be left to Underground Youth fanclubbers, so I’ll just say that I’ve got a soft spot for the odd track here and there, which is how it should be: I love the washed-out lo-fi production that swarms the acoustic strums and minute additives of “Fear and Loathing In My Own Private Memory”, and I think the weird, warbled mess of scoured balladry that is “She’s Got You” is enjoyable too.
These are good, primordial post-punk ditties from a time in history so remote I can’t even remember who won the Euro in it.
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