DANISH four-piece Yung return with their sophomore offering, Ongoing Dispute, released by PNKSLM Recordings.
Yung consist of frontman and lead singer Mikkel Holm Silkjaer; bassist Tobias Guldborg Tarp, guitarist Emil Zethsen and drummer Frederick Nybo Veile.
Whilst they should have been celebrating the release of their last album, A Youthful Dream, in 2015, it instead supplied conflict; “We just weren’t proud of it,” says Mikkel, Emil adding: ‘The four of us rarely agree on anything,” indicative of the creative maelstrom here.
They’re an indie-rock collective, heavy on the guitars and fizzing with energy; the opening song of Ongoing Dispute, “Autobiography”, is a blistering statement of intent for us listeners.
Second track “Lust and Learning” is a yearning lament to the need to connect with lost souls and the interaction of others in this small world. This is reflected in the album artwork; an empty stadium devoid of fans – perhaps the band asking if their fanbase is still present following a long period of absence between releases.
The music reminded this listener of more American rock luminaries such as the Gaslight Anthem’s seminal 59 Sound; that impassioned resonance with the experience of getting older while clinging on to teenage dreams.
Some of the songs are reflections on manhood and adulthood, songwriter and frontman Mikkel stating that of “Such a Man”: “Growing up, masculinity was portrayed to me as something very one-sided.
“The experience referenced in the lyrics helped me realise a pattern in coping with loss and pain in the archetypical man.”
This ongoing conflict of manhood and the perception of man in this post-pandemic world comes to the fore again in tracks two, “Progress”, and four, “Dismantled”.
The album is full of mood and edginess, with tracks such as “Above Water” reminscent of Japandroids. Other contemporaries you can hear being called upon are Killing Joke Nada Surf; there’s a heavy pinch of krautrock also.
Produced by regular sound technician Neil Robert Young over two sesssions at Dreamland Studio and the tiny, now-defunct Studio One, this is an album that speaks to the power of perseverance and collaboration.
Bassist Guldborg Tarp states: “Ultimately, that’s what the record was – an ongoing dispute.
“We come in to write and we’re referencing different bands, but every time we wrap up a song, we’re excited about it.
“It reflects the lyrical side of the record, too; it’s like the last few years of coping with the world have been an ongoing dispute for us.’
All in all, this is an album of maturity and fittingly, a grower with each listen.