What, then of Youthless, a band for whom my gut feelings screamed Big Hearty Hugs, Please when I looked back at their contribution to 2010?
Their songs – like Golden Age – are warm, caring, thoughtful and snappier than a swimming pool filled with primed mouse traps.
Songs like these don’t usually write themselves, though you may be forgiven for wondering if in Youthless‘ case, the band act as mere conduits for such lovely melodies. The suspicion remains that they were beamed in from another place altogether.
But they’re just songs. What Youthless’ approach to song-writing – less is more, simple=direct – means is that the listener can absorb the feelings, the meanings, the life contained within.
Such simplicity can take many forms. The Beasts is what happens when you take a screaming wall of feedback as a starting point, and then pare the clutter back. By taking a razor blade to a formless noise-lump and ruthlessly snicking away segments, they present us with a song that is no less – and more importantly, no more – than is needed: a song pristine in execution, clean as a whistle and a skinny as a supermodel.
I umm-ed and aah-ed for a while before naming Youthless as my favourite band of the year. Full disclosure: I got to know the band after meeting them at the In The City music conference, and they’re genuinely lovely people. I didn’t want this to cloud my judgement, and so spent plenty of time mentally slipping other bands into the number one slot to see if they’d fit.
And then yesterday morning I found myself involuntarily whistling Golden Age in the shower and thought ‘fuck it’. If there’s a better indicator of a band’s abilities, I don’t know what it is.
Youthless make music for the mind and soul, programmed for the head and the feet, about love and happiness. Their songs are bright and immediate, with the lazy shine and sudden prickle of a needle. Above all, they’re honest and genuine – joy laid bare. A triumphant year in any sense.
On ANBAD tomorrow, just in time for Christmas, there’s an exclusive interview with Youthless: looking back on their year, playing drums upside down, and the benefits of Guitar Hero.