Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Modular Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, Indie Pop
There’s plenty that can be said about Young Dreams, but perhaps the most obvious is this: they believe in truth in advertising. From the harmonies that they toss out like a choral fight club, to lyrics about life as a young adult (see: “Young Dreams”), the Norwegian band’s debut full-length Between Places drips with a youthful joie de vivre. And then it hits you: these “kids” are packing some serious chops.
Norwegian pop outfit Young Dreams channel all the buoyant oddities of ‘ONE’-era Yeasayer, with the added bonus that the spirit of The Beach Boys has hijacked their vocals. The likes of ‘Wounded Hearts Forever’ or ‘When Kisses Are Salty’ seesaw around wonky song structures, but retain such a pure pop heart you barely notice the strange time signatures and instruments around them. ‘Dream Alone, Wake Together’ manages to sound like Arcade Fire soundtracking an ’80s cop show, while the harmonies that open ‘Through The Turnstiles’ are spine-tinglingly similar to some of Brian Wilson’s work.
Young Dreams' debut album, 2013's Between Places, showcases the Norwegian band's knack for mixing a melodic, '60s sunshine pop aesthetic with an '80s-influenced post-punk sound. Showcasing several vocalists who share lead and background vocal duties, Young Dreams feature a variety of harmonized melodies on Between Places that bring to mind such icons of '60s baroque pop as the Beach Boys and Free Design. Which isn't to say you could ever mistake Young Dreams for a retro-pop ensemble.
A few months ago, when Young Dreams covered a song by former tourmates Tame Impala, they renamed it “Feels Like We Only Go Bachwards”. The pun spoke volumes. Young Dreams are baroque, a little anachronistic and, occasionally, wincingly earnest-- but at least their self-presentation shows that they’re fully aware of all these things. Everything about them has an air of almost orchestral grandeur.
Will there ever be a time when clean-cut, well-meaning young people do not feel it necessary to beat the dead horse that is Brian Wilson? Hard to say… but that day has certainly not come yet. One thing is for sure: the perky, apple-cheeked Norwegian kids that comprise Young Dreams see no reason to stop popping their ancient copy of Pet Sounds into the microwave in order to see what warmed-over melodies and harmonies might still be salvageable, even at this late date. The thing is, Young Dreams’ new record Between Places sounds less like a band ripping off the Beach Boys again, and more like a band ripping off other bands who were ripping off the Beach Boys.
Fronted and led by Mathias Tellez, Bergen’s Young Dreams are an outfit that, at their best, compose music with a kaleidoscopic, Technicolor palette that flourishes with their obvious love of Brian Wilson. For the most part, though, debut album Between Places cuts and pastes a series of well meaning but unengaging pop vignettes. It starts magnificently, ‘Footprints’ spirals and turns through the synthetic power drums of the Beach Boys’ ‘Love You’, those Seventies sounds repurposed with all the sweet intent maintained and embellished further with even bigger theatrics.
Starting at seven members, and often blossoming to as many as twelve, Norwegian troupe Young Dreams are capable of a big sound and its one that sounds every bit like a group with many members. Not only do they pack an overwhelming range of sounds into their songs but they fit into the lineage of 6+ members groups making soaring anthemic pop with an adventurous twist. Most prominent however is the influence of The Beach Boys which permeates the basis of their songs, the collation of sunshine harmonies with schizophrenic stylistic shifts inspiring some great individual moments in songs which can be difficult to get a handle on.
On eponymous track ‘Young Dreams’, Matias Tellez asserts “We’re restless, that’s why we keep on moving, not empty, because of our young dreams.” Debut offering ‘Between Places’ more than follows suit. After forming back in 2009 through Tellez, the Norwegian symphonic pop outfit has gradually grown into a fully-fledged ensemble, with a lineup of up to twelve musicians at times. But while the fusing of so many young musicians risks a potentially chaotic output, Young Dreams have managed to somehow turn that chaos into a wonderfully intimate-sounding affair.From its elaborate spaciousness to weaving harmonies, ‘Between Places’ is an album of luscious dream pop, intricately built around grand symphonic arrangements.