Young Fathers - Dead (LP)
There is no other pop group like Young Fathers. And if you got as far as ‘pop’ and thought, “ah, that’s what they are, file under daytime radio one” then you haven’t listened, at. All.
When you heard Ronnie Spector’s voice battle through the ego-orchestra of her husband, or when you sneaked a listen to The End after midnight on your dad’s headphones you wouldn’t have dreamed that a “hip hop” group would be the next cuddly bear on the conveyor belt to bring you the same, full moon, suede and denim ecstasy, essence of New Orleans – that Congo Square basic ingredient which killed and brought alive like St John’s root, you, just, would have said “naah” – hip hop? “Naah”.
There is no other pop group like Young Fathers. And if you got as far as “pop” and thought, this will never get played on radio one, then, well, you’ve been wrong before. That moment when the Byrds’ So You Wanna Be A Rocknroll Star scratched out of a transistor radio in a shop during the hottest summer, in 1976, just before Johnny Walker read out the chart run down and when Joy Division’s TV triumph was repeated one more time and this time, you caught it, or the evening when you were walking miserably around some fenced in stockade, surrounded by wailing, well fed professional authenticists, guarded by flourescent pickets, bumping into bare children wanting cuddles and vibes and you chanced upon a lonely stage and, there, was a small gang of equally miserable but proud young men, singing against the wars, singing for love, in the midst of all that… shit. You weren’t expecting that, hmm?
Here, have a glass of fucking Pimms.
I make no apology for writing in this florid style about a group of men who I love and respect. But I’m their manager, it’s not expected that I get emotionally involved beyond making sure they get paid. Paid? Hah! They get paid and I get paid, right? And I have been paid. I’m from that same generation, who didn’t expect to get shocked again, to feel that electric charge, when you hear the pure encapsulation, a moment frozen like the Fukushima power station, paid, in full.
This, this is an album where great slabs of sonics are obscured by larger slabs. This is the album that you wanted to happen, the one where that sound of old Rocksteady vinyl sides, where the bass is fifty fucking percent of the record, where the singing somehow sits on top, where echoes and screeches and crashes battle against each other, where nothing is clear, but the voice of the music is pure, the darkness is deep and you know, even if you’re a man, but, the girls understand. You absolutely know, even if you can’t explain. Just know.