The Underground Youth deliver their eighth album, the cheerfully (and topically?) titled What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This? Those gloomy vibes are transmitted to the listener via goth-vocalled, shoegaze-guitared post-punk music. The songwriting standards are very high, since The Underground Youth clearly know themselves very well by this point. Out on Fuzz Club.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 14 February 2017
I have officially heard more Underground Youth records in the last year than I’ve seen my own mother. Not sure that’s a healthy ratio at all, but at least they’ve got an album title appropriate of the scenario: ‘What Kind of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?’ is their eighth LP and comes courtesy of the ever-beloved Fuzz Club. As I recall, their last record (which I reviewed in December Two Thousand and Sixteen, less than two literal months ago) was my favourite of theirs, ditching the lamenting raincoat psychedelia for a gorgeous and largely instrumental soundscape.
What does this LP do in its wake? It acts as a bridge between the band’s two worlds, marrying their sad hypnorock with the more ambient-focused and willfully textured sound they’ve proven themselves adept at. The guitars sound as lovely as they ever have for this band, properly cold and Cureified on “Alice” and peaking out nimbly from the drenched beatwork of “Amerika”. The riffs are poised, too, so let’s talk about the riffs: I like the one coated in fuzz on “Persistent Stable Hell”, which erupts like a ripple in time and keeps breaking things apart until a second vocalist comes into pick up the pieces, as if the song’s been passed to her through a wormhole. It made me wonder if the UY’s lead singer had been killed by his own psych rock, but he started singing again so hey. I’m glad everything’s okay.
I can’t help but appreciate the UY for being versatile: they roll out piano ballad “Incapable of Love” as a closer, a shoegaze-tinged lament with spooky spoken word that makes me wonder what’d happen if Al Stewart got to replace Aidan Moffat on one of those Bill Wells albums. For a band that could be lauded as psych-rock repeaters, this band rarely say the same thing twice.
7/10 The Doc Customer review, 24th February 2017
Another month, another album from the Underground Youth, and really it's a case of plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. He fairly churns them out, this fella, slab after slab of brooding post-punk and doomy atmospherics, and even though all his records sound the same, there are always enough slightly new ideas to keep it interesting. The opening track on this is the best by a country mile, the usual reverberating bass and twinkling guitar notes sliding into a crunching chorus that showcases a heavy side that he rarely indulges. You could probably cut the last track and the album would be better for it, but other than that it's another solid effort. Not my favourite record of theirs by any stretch, but a decent addition to the catalogue just the same.
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- What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This? by The Underground Youth
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