The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Reviews

Younghusband
Dromes Joe Clay , September 18th, 2013 08:01

If you are looking for the perfect album to soundtrack the abrupt transition from summer to autumn, Younghusband have made it. Dromes is the ideal aural accompaniment to getting the chunky-knit jumpers and scarves out of the trunk in the attic, grudgingly switching on the central heating and saying, "Blimey it's getting dark early" ad infinitum. The mood is melancholic and reflective, dreamily evoking that gentle, rippling sadness that can take over as the nights draw in and the temperature drops.

The mood is set on opener 'Running Water' as bittersweet Byrdsian choral harmonies tumble over multiple guitar lines like leaves falling to the ground. Regardless of its seasonal suitability, Dromes (a play on dreams and drones, both of which are in plentiful supply) is an impressive debut album from Euan Hinshelwood and his fellow Watford cohorts, almost six years since the release of the band's first single. With such a long gestation period there isn't the feeling of disparate songs being tossed together to represent a body of work; the purging of all the ideas on the hard drive that lots of debut albums seem to represent these days. Instead the sound is accomplished and fully formed, with the steady hand of the Deerhunter producer Nicolas Vernhes at the controls; a band whose own blend of fuzzy psychedelia, shoegaze and krautrock is a fair reference point for much of Dromes, especially the fabulously frazzled and pounding title track that closes the album, and the motorik, organ-drenched 'Left of the Rocks'.

'Comets Crossed' and 'Silver Sisters' have both had mainstream radio support; proof that Hinshelwood has the knack of writing decent guitar pop songs and isn't just content to swathe everything in a comfort blanket of distorted sonic malevolence. Where Ride once trod circa-'Twisterella', so too does Hinshelwood. The wistful, chiming 'Sunstroke' evokes memories of the more ambient moments on The Smashing Pumpkins debut Gish, while 'Divisions' has an icy electronic pulse and jagged riffs. Lots of bands mix 1960s psychedelia with 1990s dreampop atmospherics but few do as well as Younghusband on 'Constantly in Love' – it's like Sonic Boom's contributions to Spacemen 3's Recurring shot through with JAMC-does-Spector vibes.

Hinshelwood has spoken of "a sense of detachment" while he was writing the majority of the songs (in a former drug rehabilitation centre) and this disconnected approach to songwriting can lead to a similarly disengaged listening experience. Having said that, the insular mood evoked is in keeping with the effect the changing season has on the human condition, when thoughts naturally start to turn inwards. "There is a harmony in autumn," said Shelley, and Hinshelwood has found a way to replicate this seasonal accord with his music.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.