Thursday, 11 September 2014

Chroming The Young

I am a massive fan of Austin reprobates The Young’s Voyagers Of Legend LP, which tore my face off in 2010 (it was one of our top albums of that year). That album was surprisingly on Mexican Summer - not a label that keeps tabs on this kind of viscerality - and was also their last one on there. Then my knowledge of their existence pretty much stopped right there. The quartet apparently brought out a follow-up album called Dub Egg, which I somehow missed. I'm scurrying around looking for it now...

But onward and upward. The Texans have a new album on Matador Records, and it's a balltearer. Chrome Cactus is sharper; harsher; leaner; sinister. There is a dropped-down drive that underscores this songs, which are then superseded by fuzzed out guitar solos a la Fu Manchu’s Scott Hill albeit with some deliberate restraint, and other abrasive effects like the squalling feedback stab on ‘Metal Flake’ or the the soaring synth that accompanies the “ballad” ‘Apache Throat’. The excellently-named Hans Zimmerman takes front and centre with his vocals this time around, and it lends an interesting counterpoint that is often overlooked in 21st century rock production – his voice is uninhibited by pedals, effects and nonsense distortion and delay, and as such stands somewhere between the monotone snarl of Girls Against Boys’ Eli Janney and the growl of Young Widows’ Evan Patterson. It helps the the sound has been tweaked by Tim Green (Nation of Ulysses/The Fucking Champs) in the blasted surrounds of the Sierra Nevada – definitely perfect environs for what transpires here - but you get a sense that Chrome Cactus may have landed at his feet fully formed. ‘Chrome Jamb’ has a narcoleptic undertone to its dry crawl, bent strings belying a Morricone hangover before bringing the doom; ‘Moondog First Quarter’ maintains the vitriol that has been missing from Black Mountain for some time. I still miss the darkness sewn into the Pixies-lite that littered their debut, but when the raucous drown-out that is the aptly-titled ‘Slow Death’ kicks in, closely followed by the feedback squall of closer ‘Blow The Scum Away’, the new Young is all that matters.

You can grab Chrome Cactus here. The Young play in NY tonight alongside SM faves Degreaser - get along.

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