Edinburgh trio return with follow up to last year’s all conquering DEAD
How many times in the past have you bought an album by a new group and fallen in love with them, then when the next one is released only to feel slightly disappointed? Where were all the wonderful ideas and clever hooks? Nas, the Libertines, Bentley Rhythm Ace, Daft Punk and a slew of others we’re talking about you!
When I heard that the second Young Fathers album was coming out, I was hopeful. Last year’s DEAD was one of the most forward thinking pieces of music I have ever heard. In thirty four minutes it completely re-imagined what a Hip-Hop album could, and more importantly, SHOULD be. Against the odds it won the Mercury Music Prize, and all eyes were on Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and G Hastings. Expectation for their second album was even higher. Luckily I had nothing to worry about as White Men Are Black Men Too is equal to their debut.
Open track Still Running is a call to arms. “Your gonna die in my arms (oooh oooh), Hiding from the torture (Where where), Fire’s what you’re under” It contains Young Fathers’ incendiary production, but instead of hitting the ground running, it takes it’s time to build up before it punches you in the face, musically speaking. Feasting sounds like the Tales of the Unexpected theme in places. This plays into their hands with lyrics like “I’m just feasting with panthers, Rolling around in their shit, You won’t leave with answers, I still believe you love me”
What Young Fathers have expertly produced is an album that is as rich as their debut, but it doesn’t feel like repetition. After a first listen White Men Are Black Men Too appears as dense as molasses and totally impenetrable, but after a few more listens you realise that it is eminently penetrable. Once you have penetrated it you realise how rich an album it is. It isn’t just lyrically rich, but the layers and texture of the music are perfect to be dissected. Sirens is Urban Gospel, with hints of the Akira soundtrack to it. Old Rock ‘n’ Roll starts off sounding like a demented music box, then it jumps to tribal dance/ceremony until it ends in a crescendo of alarm clocks. Nest re-wires a Wurlitzer and through some minimal production creates something that not only yearns for the past, but shows the future too.
This time last year I was exalting the debut album from an almost unknown Hip-Hop group (http://wp.me/p32DDF-qH), since then I haven’t stopped exalting them. After hearing White Men Are Black Men Too, a lot, I expect to be exalting them for the rest of this year and well in to the next.