Review | “Sharp of tooth and claw” Whenyoung – Paragon Songs

The colours and the shapes that temper the mood of an album are integral to its sense of meaning. Whenyoung imbues Paragon Songs with an irrepressible undercurrent of weighty textures, darkened tones and hard-hitting passages, traversing the sophomore record pitfalls via a sea-change that follows threads of their past work. 

Setting the scene with a thumping, unrelenting beat, found on ‘Shame Train’, Paragon Songs emerges from a tidal melding of buzzing, rattling and humming sounds. Played out behind a dynamically charged vocal and Whenyoung evolution into harder-hitting music and songwriting is clear. All of which makes the slow-burn and wide-open choruses of ‘Rubicks Cube’ all the more impactful.

Indeed, clarity in motion is key to Paragon Songs. The thread of strong indie-pop songwriting established on 2019’s Reasons To Dream remains. However, Whenyoung has contorted these sensibilities, the stark electronic feel of ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’ gives way to an instantly infectious chorus. While the musicality of ‘Unchained’ on a beautifully woven vocal melody. Add to this the darkly lit corners of tracks like ‘Shed My Skin’, and Paragon Songs has a sense of tonal scale brought to the fore in writing, performance and production.

‘The Laundress’ encapsulates the augmentation of Whenyoung. Taking the rumbling sonic backdrop of Paragon Songs itself, the song insists on your attention. Dynamically edged, the bustling beat, buzzsaw bass lines and soaring vocal gymnastics at the heart of ‘The Laundress’ all compound on one another, mirroring the bold style of the album overall. 

And so it goes, there’s a reference to Tracey Emin’s My Bed within Paragon Songs (see; Home Movie), an apropos evocation of unflinching self-reflection via dishevelled, unfiltered honesty. Sharp of tooth and claw, Whenyoung’s Paragon Songs, is exactly that. Rough around the edges, jagged to the touch and real to the ear. A stylistically striking album, Paragon Songs is the way forward for Whenyoung.


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