Richard Youngs Autumn Response

[Jagjaguwar; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: British folk, acoustic minimalism
Others: Simon Finn, Roy Harper, Robert Wyatt

If Richard Youngs ever wanted to make an album for the ages, he could. His voice bears the trial-won wisdom of an aged farmer. His circular guitar patterns entrance. His electronic timbres pulse with all the color of a choral fugue. In sum, Youngs infuses his music with poetic emotion and classical power. But he never pours all of his talents into any single recording. Instead, he creates focused albums: a minimalist piano piece here, a collection of primitivistic acid-rock there, a set of acoustic folk in between.

Autumn Response, like earlier releases Sapphie and May, is a display of Youngs' idiosyncratic take on British folk. Each of these songs contains simple ingredients: acoustic guitar, two vocal tracks, and a repetitive melody. Sharp picking and the doubled vocals lend the album a disorienting, sub-psychedelic feel, but the songwriting itself is clear and linear.

There's little else to say. No song stands above its peers, and nothing will surprise Youngs' fans. Not a note is wasted, but none say too much, either.

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