Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Young Aviators - Self Help

Young Aviators are an Irish trio who decamped to Glasgow and honed their sound; a mix of birthing room brit pop and US indie disco dirge, touring with the likes of Reef and The Subways. Following several EP’s they have released a 9 song d├ębut, ‘Self Help.’

Opening track Sunrise on the Motorway initially sets forth a Brian Jonestown Masacre-esque swagger of hazy harmonies and fuzz tone guitars before exploding into a raucous, alternative ‘80s style riff: think She Sells Sanctuary meets U2. It’s an unexpected but rewarding segue. Single, Forward Thinking is an early highlight thanks to its truly memorable chorus hook of “Oh oh, need to start some forward thinking”, once again a strange but luscious combination of influences combine wonderfully to create a real pop treat with Decky McKay (Guitar/Vox) filling the roles of Albarn and Coxon beautifully as early britpop guitar led verses are juxtaposed against more contemporary bouncy bass grooves throughout the choruses. McKay’s top notch guitar solo is the icing on the britpop cake though, outshining many of the genre’s forefathers in the process.

As ‘Self Help’ progresses, the happy-go-lucky speed-kick pop turns darker and grittier as the influence of Alex Turner and the Jarman brothers becomes apparent. Thankfully the material is just as effective with tracks such as A Love To Change Your Ways and Future Pill maintaining the authenticity of the initial barrage.

Deathrays in Disneyland is a thoroughly unexpected left turn from rock road to piano ballad boulevard and, whilst it offers some respite from the albums nonstop nature, it ultimately it feels out-of-place in this collection. Young Aviators indulge in some transatlantic aping on We’ve Got A Name For Folks Like You  as things go Americana, disco rock with Kyle Haughey’s distorted driving bass parts leading the line as Decky McKay delivers a deadpan speak-sing vocal. This is taken one step further on Rejection Letter. Imagine OK Go covering Elastica for a tribute album, add a hint of Nada Surf and you’re in the zip code where things that really shouldn’t work do.

Sunset on the Motorway successfully bookends the album with a reprise of the opening track, once again highlighting the band’s penchant for harmony and noise with equal abandon.  What lies in-between is a quirky fun-filled record of spiky pop gems. 

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