Living in Edinburgh but with the roots all over the place, but principally Scotland, Liberia and Nigeria, Young Fathers aka Alloysious, G and Kayus have made an album, their debut at that, that inhabits a musical world somewhere between hip-hop and indie, but taking in influences from all of the place, including their own heritages.
Despite that, despite the buzz that was created by their first two EP’s, and despite the fact that Young Fathers have been ripping it up live on stage here and abroad for a while now, they stress that its the decision to kill off their past to created their futures that has been behind Dead, and not just in the title – “The funeral procession, the last hoorah’ says G ‘It’s called DEAD because I can say it out loud and it means nothing.’
What comes across is a piece of work that looks in from the outside. They sing more than they rap, but its infused with hip-hop, its a mish mash of sounds but its tied together into a singular sound and fuses together as an album, and most of all its packed full of melodies and hooks and riffs and sounds that separate Young Fathers from just about every other act out there.
Each song on the shortish album (its 36 minutes in all) has something different, something emotional to offer, often in one song. Take No Way for instance. Bass led, it principally a hip-hop track,but its got soul, and, when they sing ‘Come here and do the right thing / Get up and have a party’ its almost euphoric,but then there’s this slight melancholy about it.
But from beginning to end its a fantastic listen. From the opener No Way, through the Afro/electro infused Dip, and the similarly influences Low, which is just heart meltingly good, to the dark RnB of Paying to the hip-hop heavy Mmmh Mmmh and War, to the straight up Am I not Your Boy, there are no weak tracks on this album.
Though they may have set out to kill of their pasts, its actually that that influences the record, that paves the way for this ambitious, porous record, that shows Young Fathers have moved in to the big league. Without doubt, this is the best record I’ve heard this year to date. I’ve arrived is the title of the album closer. Damn right they have.