• youthmovies Good Nature (digipak CD, £9.50)

    label: drowned in sound

    REVIEW FROM THE LINE OF BEST FIT: Is it a good idea to begin your album with four minutes of droning near silence? Well, Youthmovies seem to think so, causing me to nudge the volume up ever higher until at the moment the music actually does come, it sends me scuttling halfway across the room. And when it does come, it is glorious, picked guitar and a mariachi band heralding in an album that always manages to, at the very least, sound interesting, even if it doesn’t quite live up to its ambitions. This Oxford outfit seem now to have dropped the Soundtrack Strategies moniker, and their new album (produced by ex Hope of the States Ant Theaker) is a curious blend of styles and themes. They also place their most accessible material at the top, ‘The Naughtiest Girl Is A Monitor’ a frantic, Mystery Jets surge of pop and rhythm. ‘Soandso and Soundso’ is where the challenge begins, opening with a dischordant trumpet before shifting into a pulsing beat of changing time signatures. Its no masterpiece, flabby at times, but is full of melodrama and squealing guitars. ‘The Last Night of the Proms’ would make excellent Guitar Hero material, whilst ‘Cannulea’ is inventive, benefiting from a stripped down arrangement. The highpoint is ‘Something for the Ghost’, a rambling epic of distorted guitars and thumping drum beats, the length of the song allowing them to explore the music placing the melody around a groove. It makes ‘If You’d Seen a Battlefield’ almost redundant, an uninspiring muddle of ideas that fails to go anywhere, cascading into an unwelcome mess of guitars and parping trumpets. As they sing themselves – “Its not going well, and its not going badly – its just… going”. It all ends well though with two fine songs in ‘Archive it Everywhere’ and ‘Surtsey’. You cannot fault ambition and there are plenty of ideas here, just the occasional fat to be trimmed. 71%

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