The Last Mixed Tape reviews Reasons To Dream, the much-anticipated debut studio album from whenyoung.
Reasons To Dream is immediate. Everything about whenyoung’s debut offering is instant, impactful and illuminating to listen to. That’s not to say the album lacks depth, quite the opposite, the multiple layers that comprise the trio’s music is what makes Reasons To Dream such an all-pervasive work of art. As always, the devil is in the detail.
And Reasons To Dream is filled with detail. Spanning the sonic spectrum with an ambitious widescreen production, vocalist & bassist Aoife Power, guitarist Niall Burns and drummer Andrew Flood combine to deliver instant indie-pop gems like the jangled ‘Pretty Pure’, the dreamy build and release of ‘Never Let Go’, and frantic pop of ‘You’re Grand’. All of which convey the intricacy of the band’s music as they contrast the vivid colours of their music with darker lyrical leanings (“I watch the skies, I’m waiting for the day to rise. I wish the sun could stay awake all night”).
Dynamically Reasons To Dream ebbs and flows with moments of repose (see: ‘Something Sweet’) and ambition (founds in the big choruses of ‘Future’). This is possibly best seen in ‘A Labour Of Love’. A song that comes in waves, this is where whenyoung truly shine as a band, capturing the same energy that makes their live shows so captivating whilst showing a strong stylised flair via a spoken word passage that highlights the meaning behind the song and album itself.
However, it’s the bristling, pointed performance of ‘The Others’ that provides the high-water mark of Reasons To Dream. “Tell your kids that nothing’s equal, even in a land like this. Ignorance is peaceful” sings Aoife Power, in one of many hard-hitting lyric moments while whenyoung wrack up the tension in a song that’s already pushing eleven. Indeed, it’s a testament to the band themselves that they seem to always find that little something extra to give in each song.
In a record like Reasons To Dream texture is everything. How whenyoung’s joyous take on indie-pop is undercut with the social realities of the time we live in, how the music is imbued with anthemic joie de vivre, and how the trio creates a sound that’s vital to who they are but also who the listener is, makes for a debut outing cast across a large canvas with flourishes of vivid, highly contrasted colour. One of the best Irish albums of the past decade.
Reasons To Dream by whenyoung is out on Friday, May 24th via Virgin EMI Records.