Say Psych: Album Review: The Underground Youth – What Kind of Dystopian Hellhole is This?


What Kind of Dystopian Hellhole is This? is the eighth LP from The Underground Youth, formed in Manchester but they now call Berlin home.

Beginning in 2008 when the only way to get their music heard was to hand out CD-Rs, they came to prominence with the release of Mademoiselle in 2010. They went on to release Sadovaya – 2010 and Delirium – 2011 before signing to Fuzz Club Records in 2012. Since then, they have released The Perfect Enemy for God – 2013, Beautiful & Damned – 2014, Haunted – 2015 and A Lo-Fi Cinematic Landscape – 2015. Alongside the releases they have undertaken extensive tour schedules and sell-out venues Europe wide.

Craig Dyer, the genius behind TUY, began writing this LP when he relocated to Berlin in early 2016, was recorded their and features appearances by other members of the current live line up; Olya Dyer, Max James and Mark Vernon as well as guest vocals on one track from Faith Vernon, a member of Manchester band PINS. Common themes run throughout the album, focusing heavily on the current social political climate.

Opening with ‘Half Poison, Half God’ with its fuzz laden guitar chords, upbeat rhythm and thought evoking lyrics, this is the type of song that fans will enjoy and new listeners will instantly understand. ‘Alice’ is the first single to come from the album with its fast tempo, repetitive guitar riff and catchy temperament. This track is made of all the stuff we have come to know and expect from TUY. ‘You Made It Baby’ has a hypnotic bass line and is reminiscent of ‘The Rules of Attraction’ from album Morally Barren –  2009, one of their most electrifying songs live. Its lyrics feature the title of the album and the roll and swell of the track invoke a western, Morricone vibe.

‘Beast (Anti-War Song)’ layers sound skilfully, whilst political undertones emerge through the fuzz. ‘A Dirty Piece of Love for us to Share’ showcases the lighter, softer side to TUY with an acoustic guitar focus, a tambourine shimmer and organ accompaniment. The second single comes in the form of the haunting ‘Amerika’. A distinct drum rhythm, synonymous with TUY, is thrust to the forefront of the track, a jangling guitar riff shines and the bass and vocals are pushed to the background to compete for attention. This clever play on layering marks this out as something a little different. ‘The Outsider’ is aptly named as it has a distinctly different to the rest of the album. An experimental feel prevails due to resonating vocals, a heavily distorted guitar presence and a reverberating within the track that makes the music quake; its darkness overwhelms the senses.

‘Persistent Stable Hell’ sees a return to vocal dominance whilst not diminishing from the heavy fuzzy guitars common throughout. Craig’s vocal tones soothe harmoniously alongside those of Faith Vernon and the simplicity of the lyrical content forces the listener to pay careful attention. ‘Your Sweet Love’ is the monster of the album with its multi layers of sound; a jangling synth pattern, toe-tapping rhythm section, jarring guitar riff and all accompanied by mesmerising vocal harmonies. ‘Incapable of Love’ closes in its own unique way with spoken vocals and piano melody.

TUY have installed themselves as a main stay in the ever expanding psych arena by producing album after album of darkly seductive, moody tracks which have an appeal to a wide range of listener. They do this while creating intense live experiences that differ to the listening of an album, whilst maintaining meaning and authority.

As albums go, this offers a portion of everything and you’d be hard pushed not to please even the most critical ear.

Schedules for release on 15th February 2017 and can be pre-ordered here:

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