Young Magic live in London
- By Jack Preston -
- May 09, 2012
Young Magic’s debut album, 'Melt', is a very decent listen. It knows when to slowly build, it knows when to kick things into gear, with waves, shrieks and crashes shrouding the listener in an atmospheric cloud. If it wasn’t for a slightly underwhelming finish to the record, Young Magic would already be more than worthy of the HEALTH, Yeasayer and WU LYF parallels which can be drawn with their music.
Their sound, described by the by the band as “home-made sonic collage” and, probably more fittingly, by NME as slippery psych-rock seemed tailor made to fit into the industrial confines of London’s Birthdays. With the newly finished venue (the smell of paint in the air, MDF stacked in the corridors) beaming out watery, acidic projections behind the band as they huddled in a triangle, primed.
However the well-judged implementation of both vocals and instruments, which is a mainstay throughout Melt, seemed to escape the New York trio on a night where they were plagued by sound problems.
“New venue, new sound problems – huh? Sorry guys,” muttered singer come rapper Isaac Emmanuel as the band stared down at the instruments around their feet on the stage. The show had seemingly started well, with a winding build up breaking out into celebrated single ‘You With Air’. Although the band’s lo-fi tendencies worked against them, as vocals failed to register the same intent as the song required.
While contemporaries such as Foals excel in starting their shows from a slow base and gently increasing speed until eventually a defined rhythm is laid down for the band to work around, Young Magic seemed content to let their songs float around the room without ever getting hold of them.
A misjudged opening was compounded by the same mistakes being repeated, as the fantastic ‘Sparkly’ and ‘Slip Time’ went the way of You With Air, quickly making it clear that this was a gig that was barely going to get out of neutral. Opting to draw each song out to almost double its length Young Magic only succeeded in removing the excitement and urgency that draws the listener.
Having to fumble around mid-set to sort sound problems as the audience listened to the sound of the waves crashing (not very soothing, it turns out) may not have been the band’s fault, however their inability to do their work justice most certainly was.
There’s clearly a good show inside the band, it just wasn't to be found at Birthdays. Having played little more than six songs the trio meekly thanked the audience and returned to the drawing board.