Release Date: Feb 14, 2012
Record label: Carpark Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
On Melt, his first full-length release as Young Magic, Australian mind-blower Isaac Emmanuel stretches swaths of symphonic vocals and swooping sonic mayhem over oceanic drumbeats, tracking ever forward into electronic sensory overload. How lucky that in the process he strikes a rich vein of pop gold. “Night in the Ocean” is a particularly exultant piece of ear candy, a psychedelic marvel the complexities of which only seem to multiply, and the virally good beat of “Sanctuary” is the rule, not the exception.
New Zealand’s The Ruby Suns did the whole everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink tropical-pop thing before most of Brooklyn. And if not before, then they certainly did it better. In lieu of anything new from them, this debut by their kindred spirits (two Australians and an Indonesian) will do nicely.If possible, [a]Young Magic[/a] are even more dizzyingly chaotic.
Young MagicMelt[Carpark; 2012]By Colin Joyce; February 15, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetYoung Magic is from Brooklyn, and that fact becomes fairly obvious upon even a cursory listen to their debut album, Melt. While that statement could certainly be seen as a pejorative in some circles, I mean it as no slight. Simply put, their brand of psychedelic dance rock isn’t too far from what we’ve seen of some of the bigger bands to break out of the area as of late.
Following the release of four singles in 2011, Young Magic make their full-length debut with Melt. Recorded over the course of a year in their stateside home base of Brooklyn as well as in another nine countries from Iceland to Argentina, and combining dream pop, trip-hop, electro, and global influences, the record lives up to its title in terms of concept and overall sound. That is, the singles joined together with seven new compositions and perceived through the lens of Isaac Emmanuel and Michael Italia's extensive journeys (joined back in Brooklyn by singer Melati Melay) serve as an audio travelogue and play like a well-crafted mixtape thanks to the layers of background noise and electronic fuzz that penetrate each track.
If you make your way to Young Magic’s blog/home page, the first thing you’ll see is the cover art of one of the band’s 7” splits, released about a year ago. The image, like the band’s sound, is both arresting and difficult to wrap your head around: in black and white, two mirrored figures in burkas hover, suspended, over a barren desert landscape. Spend five minutes scrolling through the page and you’ll find more album art and dozens of other images: maps, portraits, collages, architecture, even feedback-generated song visualizations created by synth-artist Le Révélateur.
Some records are defined by the time and place of their creation, but Young Magic's piecemeal approach has the opposite effect. It doesn't sound like it came from a certain somewhere, but rather everywhere. And it's a surprisingly cohesive work considering that it was recorded in several different countries and sutured together from singles and B-sides that have been around since 2010.
Young Magic are a complex alliance. Assembled by three ex-pats from Australia and Indonesia, they are, as they put it themselves, “a collective based in New York and from the world.” Alongside their day job they dabble in visuals while Melt, their debut full-length, was put together by “collecting and recording sounds” in four separate continents. Attempting to pull these elements together is a tough task, particularly for a band of Young Magic’s relative inexperience, however Melt kicks off in cohesive - and striking - fashion.
Young Magic's music bears more multicultural marks than James Franco's passport. Although, even with extensive genre hopscotching, debut album Melt rarely rises above the level of incredibly well-shot vacation photos—a vibrant experience you're never fully a part of..
Ever wonder what music would sound like if a musician went backpacking across the world, making sounds along the way, with little more to offer him or her solace than a copy of the House of Balloons mixtape and maybe a Thievery Corporation album in their iPod? Enter Young Magic, a trio whose debut album Melt was stitched together from material recorded in no less than 10 countries and included stops in such majestic places such as Rio De Janeiro, London, Antwerp, Rome, Berlin, Mexico City and Reykjanesbær, among others. Sounds like it would be a diffuse and eclectic compilation of music, no? Well, alas, Melt comes out of the wringer being about as sterile and clinical sounding as a basic visit to your dentist for a routine check-up. Despite its infusion of hip-hop, r ‘n’ b, soul, electronica, Western African tribal sounds and others, what results in the kitchen sink is a largely tepid and boring travelogue across a glacial and downtempo soundscape that offers little in variety or abstraction.
Much of Young Magic‘s debut full-length, Melt, plants itself in a nebulous, pan-ethnic sound that’s become something of an indie sub-subgenre unto itself this past half-decade, demonstrated to varying degrees by bands such as Animal Collective and All Hour Cymbals-era Yeasayer. World rhythms, chanting, 1960’s pop harmonies, unabashedly psychedelic washes of synth, Middle Eastern tones, an empty parking garage’s worth of echo; you know the drill by now. It’s not bad music, it’s not even close to that, by any means.
YOUNG MAGIC play the Garrison on July 5. See listing. Rating: NN NYC-based Australian-Indonesian trio Young Magic recorded their debut LP in no fewer than 10 countries, the by-product of a global musical pilgrimage that meshed influences from Africa, South America and Europe. Don't worry if that sounds like an overstuffed geo-cultural mélange: their new album mostly just sounds like Brooklyn.
Even on consecutive listens ‘Melt’ sounds quite alien but it’s that strangeness which makes Young Magic’s debut so intriguing in the first place. The comprisal of previously released tracks might spark familiarity, whilst immediate comparisons include Yeasayer’s oddball wonk (‘Sliptime’) or MGMT’s psychedelic sprawl (‘Jam Karet’ and ‘You With Air’), but such moments give only tiny glimpses into the LP’s distinctive sound.Although based in NYC the trio’s sound is never rooted firmly in one spot. Part of this may be due to their multi-cultural make up (two Australians and one Indonesian) and part of it might be because ‘Melt’ was recorded in multiple countries.
A cracking debut of invention and intrigue from the New York-based trio. Mike Diver 2012 Formed in New York but comprising no NYC natives (instead: a pair of Australians and an Indonesian), Young Magic are an intriguing proposition before a note of this debut album has been heard. And just as their appearance is rather awry of what might be deemed ‘typical’ of an outfit looking to break out of the Big Apple, their music is similarly striking: the influence of myriad acts has been stirred into a sound that’s rarely anything but its makers’ own.It’s hard to pin Melt down to precise parallels – as its title so curtly conveys, the lines that frame each inspirational cornerstone have come undone.
Young Magic have a lot going on throughout their debut full-length, Melt. The New York City-by-way-of-Australia trio tackle more in 11 songs than most bands do in an entire career. Dreamy, psychedelic shoegaze signifiers atop recurring dance beats and worldly vocals create a sound that’s vibrant, if not a little unsettling. The high-pitched banshee loop on “Slip Time” is enough to have some listeners running in the opposite direction, but those willing to stick it out will benefit from a masterful rhythm and the kind of “aw, fuck it” vocal confidence usually reserved for long-ago-established alt-artists such as Björk and Sonic Youth.