Krautrock-influenced London band The Early Years formed in 2004 and were signed to Beggars Banquet after airplay from Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens. After their debut album received rave reviews, the band embarked on the usual round of tours and festivals before deciding to take a break in 2008. Now, 10 years after their first album, here is their second. It's taken a while, but at least it's a double.
CD £11.49 SCR110CD
CD on Sonic Cathedral.
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Vinyl Double LP £17.49 SCR110LP
2LP on Sonic Cathedral in foil-printed, textured sleeve.
2008 seems a long time ago but that is in fact the last time the Early Years dipped their heads above the precipice. This is their first album in ages and they burst out of the traps on the title track as if those years of pent up energy have exploded in a five minute burst of kraut influenced psych rock. The track is an absolute blitzkrieg of ambition held back only by it’s vocal similarity to some Joy Division song or other. Never mind it adds a bit of warm nostalgia to proceedings.
That's about as visceral and raw as it gets though as they spend the remainder of the album trying to blend krauty guitars and krauty synths into entertaining new shapes. ‘Out of Signal’ is an after-the-lord-mayors-show slow burner which showcases the bands ability to blend wobbly psych guitars with pulsating electronics. This is not going to be a comparison everyone is happy with but they remind me of what would have happened had the early Verve discovered Silver Apples. The music is atmospheric, ambitious in scope yet keeps an electronic beating heart. ‘Fluxes’ recalls ‘Movement’ era New Order collaborating with the bleeps of Factory Floor and ‘Hush’ is like ‘With Or Without You’ U2 and could be the kind of weeper that would find it’s way into the hearts and minds of Coldplay fans. That's not necessarily a bad thing as it showcases that the band can provide popular emotional resonance whilst still experimenting as ‘Clone Theory’ pulses into view - it’s ancient drum machine and Carpenter-esque slabs of soundtrack synth with satiate any worries that the previous track may just me a bit too cloying.
Overall I‘m pretty impressed. This is an ambitious meticulously put together album - expertly produced and jam packed with interesting textures. Sometimes good things take time and the Early Years have managed to arc some pretty obvious influences into a coherent whole.
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