This Younghusband article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster. Header image by Suzy Creamcheese
On their previous release ‘Dromes’, Younghusband looked like a band that had all the tools to make great music but lacked a real sense of adventure. They seemed to have the mindset necessary for making rock music that is both accessible and creative, but things never quite worked out that way. However, any accusations of a lack of songwriting ability can be swept under the rug thanks to the band’s latest album ‘Dissolver’. While maintaining some of the aspects that made ‘Dromes’ weak, the band have at least managed to put together a few compositional highlights.
Talk about improvement: the album’s opener ‘Waverly Street’ is an instant look at how Younghusband are capable of layering and structuring songs really well, while mixing in a certain sense of sweetness. There is a moment in the second verse of the song where one vocal track is suddenly overpowered by a second vocal track, while a lead guitar bursts in, creating something really beautiful.
The album continues this feeling here and there. The vocal style gets a bit tedious in places but it sounds a lot more blissful on tracks like ‘Only for You’, being helped by a really unique clean guitar-driven instrumental, with bits of reverb thrown in every now and then.
There are still choruses on this record that don’t necessarily fulfil their duty; as they look like they’re supposed to be super purposeful but end up refraining from catchiness. ‘Broken Girls’ is perhaps the key example of this, there is some attempted charm there but it’s not really a track that one would keep going back to. ‘Blonde Blending’ has a similar problem; in this case the chorus actually sounds like it’s going in an enjoyable direction, but then the chord progression takes a really strange turn.
Unlike their last outing, ‘Dissolver’ actually has a strong sense of personality – sometimes in the production, sometimes in the songwriting. They’ve managed to shake off a lot of the blandness, but Younghusband still require a bit of exploration to stop their sound becoming too samey.