Review: Richard Youngs – Amaranthine

Much of Amaranthine is loose and without pre-determining thought. Its percussion pounds and shakes and clangs, ignorant to rhythmic unity in favour of simply sounding and expressing; rhythm is there, but it exists as an energy and a voice rather than as a mere timekeeper. Youngs’ voice is beautiful – quivering as it rides the rumbling momentum of the music beneath it – yet it gushes forth with an immediacy that sees it evaporate before it has time to consider its own musical merits. It is propelled into life by a need to speak, and not a desire to be beautiful.

Percussion and vocal are the record’s central force. Amaranthine is body music: extending out of a human core, capturing as expulsions of flexed limbs and contracted lungs. The additional instrumentation feels carefully selected, so as to maintain the connection to spontaneity and the primitive established by the base elements – flutes shriek and flutter in between thick, gasped inhalations, while feedback crumbles and moans to the mental image of a guitar being hit and twisted in front of an amplifier. Only the repetitive, finger-plucked clean melody of “The Power Come Out” feels too pedestrian and stiff for the album’s sense of “now”; all else on Amaranthine refuses to stop or even slow down, even if just to rejoice in its joyous noise for just a split second.