SEEDED in Manchester, reaching full, budding flower in Berlin, which seems an ideal dovetailing of cityscape and soundscape, The Underground Youth have dropped one final single from their forthcoming album, The Falling, which is out at the end of next week.
“Vergiss Mich Nicht” – it translates as ‘Do not forget me’, is a scorched heart, minor chord study in dark folk, which I find open to interpretation; the fire of the emotionally overwhelmed, the need for your other, post-coital and high; or maybe the things you say in valediction at the very, very, very end of the affair; maybe that last meeting in a car park, the final exchange of stray belongings, followed by numbed whiskies and full ashtrays.
Whichever interpretation you land upon possibly reflects your state of your own romance; either way, it’s a tale of the obsessive and delicious and frankly essential side of love set to a harmonica-swathed 6/8 swing.
It follows on in dark procession from December’s “A Sorrowful Race”, which lead singer Craig Dyer says “is something of personal attack on myself, and the narcissistic frustration at those whose success has overshadowed my own”; and January’s “For You Are The One”, all cracked vocals, untucked collars and suits, late-night card tables and spirits, cigarette smoke and dark romance in the veins.
On the new album they’re taking a little introspective swerve away from the blurry dark post-punk/psych stylings of tracks such as 2017’s “The Outsider” and 2019’s haunting, early goth dancefloor haze, “The Death Of The Author” (and I mean when goth was great – think “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, think “Body Electric”) for a more stripped-back take firmly within the man-in-noir tradition.
Macabre alt.country are maybe the les mots justes for the latest single, of which Craig says: “As with all the tracks on this album, the idea was to strip back the sound of the band to allow for lyrical breathing space.
“I think there is always a fear as an artist that the work you produce will go unappreciated and forgotten, just as you long to be remembered by lovers and acquaintances.
“It’s this feeling, bordering on narcissism, that I wanted to write about. It comes up as a topic through the album.”
As a result of the pandemic, The Falling was recorded between Craig and guitarist-producer Leo Kaage’s apartments-turned-home-studios.
Craig says: “The album sees me going back to my writing approach from our earliest records, writing the demos as stripped back acoustic tracks at home.
“What started out as a set of romantic and deeply personal songs also took on the surrounding frustrations and feelings towards the situation we found ourselves in.
“Born from the heartbreak of how the worldwide pandemic has changed the industry we were thriving within, this album also functions as a love letter to the past.”
The Underground Youth’s The Falling will be released by Fuzz Club Records on digital, cassette, CD and vinyl formats on March 12th; it’s available to pre-order from the label now.