Bands are always being named ‘One to Watch’ or ‘The next big thing’ – I myself am guilty of this – and so for us the listener, as we are bombarded by new band name after band name that we apparently need to get excited over, it can be hard to cotton on to when the media have found someone truly special. Furthermore, even if a band is named as something the world is setting its sights on, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the artist will flourish given all of the new found pressure they’re under. The difficulties of pulling off a great live show, writing a killer follow-up album – the pitfalls that new artists face are numerous and extremely dangerous, and it is often the case they disappear from public view once they fail to live up to our heightened expectations.
Young & Sick are one of these bands that the industry is setting its sights on, and although they aren’t quite yet in the general public’s view, it won’t be long until they are. In the past there has been quite a lot of mystery surrounding this band, but they have in fact been standing there right in front of us for quite a long time now; just not how we would expect them to be. As it turns out, Young & Sick is primarily a Dutch graphic design aficionado that has been employed by the likes of Maroon 5, Foster The People and Robin Thicke to design album covers. It is only recently, however, that the Dutch mystery has come out of his shell to parade his skill with music, and this, the follow-up to his debut EP, is a staggering piece of work given his apparent job as a graphic designer…
Combining R&B beats with jazzy a cappella vocals and smooth organs, the self-titled album is a wondrous journey through the world of contemporary, mainstream jazz. Groove’y drums with lashings of handclaps are a real joy for the ears, and the vocal trills that the band employs provide true “ear-gasm” moments. Never rushing to get to the chorus, Young & Sick lavish in the joy of feel good, almost gospel-style melodies, and for me, it’s the stripped back moments that resemble a barbershop quartet song that makes me want to jump on the band’s (metaphorical) back and never let go.
Like a lot of music at the moment, disjointed beats and retro sounding synths have an air of Haim about them that embraces both the ‘cool’ of vintage at the moment, as well as the slick, shiny production of modern technology. The combination feels both seamless and effortless, and to create a sound as enthralling and unique as this really does make this album something special. I get great joy from seeing mainstream music that is clearly influenced by jazz being received so well, and with dates at SXSW and Coachella already under their belts, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this band in the future
Personally, the understated cool of ‘Man Groove’ makes the track my favourite off the album, but the hooks in ‘Heartache Fetish’ and the depth of sound to ‘Glass’ also make them standout tracks.
Currently streaming their album exclusively on Hype Machine, I recommend you check out these guys SOON!