Release Date: May 6, 2014
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Dream Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
The second album from electronic Brooklyn duo Young Magic is hypnotic. Primarily, it relies on metallic-sounding percussion, grinding synth motifs, brittle and recurring samples. Though the washes of reverb and repetitive beats make for a record that’s initially hard to penetrate, the likes of ‘Ageless’’ underwater ripples and dusky vocals and the stuttering samples of ‘Cobra’ are all-enveloping, embellished by singer Melati Malay’s sultry, Warpaint-esque coo.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Young Magic won beefy acclaim for their debut record Melt, specifically their breakout(ish) ditty 'You With Air', which Canada's Purity Ring went on to sample in 'Grandloves'. The two acts forged a bond, and they could be frequently seen touring together in 2012/13, spilling opiate-doused darkwave sampletronica to the masses.
Breathing Statues found Young Magic's lineup pared down to the duo of Isaac Emmanuel and Melati Malay, but the album sounds far bigger and more polished than their debut, Melt. Malay and Emmanuel recorded these songs while on tour in places as far-flung as Morocco, France, and Australia, which may have something to do with the way Breathing Statues evokes somewhere far-off -- but leaves where exactly that might be deliciously indistinct. "Cobra" melds a lunging beat and dirty synth bass with sitars, while "Mythnomer" mixes Asian-tinged chromatic percussion with a rhythm section that leans toward dubstep.
This two-piece may be Brooklyn-based, but Isaac Emmanuel and Melati Malay are anything but New Yorkers. Born in Australia and Indonesia respectively, Young Magic wrote and recorded their second album Breathing Statues while on tour in four different continents, before finishing it at home. You would think that such varied recording locations would result in an album with energy and a range of sonic ideas.
In spite of their best efforts, Young Magic managed to distinguish themselves from their peers in 2012. Considering the nondescript name, the album title of their debut Melt, and its smeared cover art, the duo of Isaac Emmanuel and Melati Malay appeared hellbent on confirming presumptions of them as another post-chillwave purveyor of amorphous, watercolor synth-and-sample ambience. Most of Melt turned out to be just that, except all that all tidal ebb and flow crested into huge, crashing singles “Night in the Ocean” and “You With Air”— the latter of which got a high-profile boost when Purity Ring interpolated it into “Grandloves” later that year on their hit LP Shrines.
Although Breathing Statues is technically Young Magic’s second full-length, it could be viewed as their first. Album No. 1, Melt, was more of a compilation, cobbled together from a handful of singles. But while this follow-up was written and recorded while Melati Melay and Isaac Emmanuel were on tour, it was put together in a fairly unbroken streak over the course of one year.