Fair Youth is a continuous swoop between emotional extremes, as though the band have long suppressed every smile and weep only to let them forth in a single stream: a daisychain of fond and bitter memories in rich, spectacular colour, bursting and then brimming over and over again. It’s an exhaustive 50 minutes – rhythm is an insistent, syncopated energy even when the drums drop out (its outlined retained by piano shapes and guitars in symmetrical lattice), while every trumpet and cymbal explosion is the sound of ecstasy and misery firing out of the pores. Somehow the record feels both uncontainably cathartic and ruthlessly choreographed, like an eruptive romance navigated by the intricate, graceful navigation of fate.
Furthering the sense of sudden love, it takes only three or four listens to Fair Youth before the songs start to feel surreally familiar. Soon I feel like I’ve known them forever; I can peer ahead at the chord changes and volume undulations to come, and allow myself to be carried through a panorama whose every nuance I am coming to know with the intimacy of my own reflection. “Permanence” (aptly titled) seems to chase the synthesiser that shoots ahead like a light beam, while strings arc over tom drums like birds tracing the slope of a hillside; the climax of the final minute is both obliterative and totally serene, collapsing my body into a chord cycle that spells euphoria and despondency simultaneously. Maybeshewill hover atop the equilibrium of polarised emotion, juddering with the sheer strength of their collective heartbeat and set alight by the fireworks of joy and misery in perpetual collision.