Album Review: Yvette Young - Acoustics (2014 EP)

The announcement that Bonnaroo 2015 was to be headlined by (among others) Mumford & Sons, shows that despite all the Wonderwall jokes thrown its way, the world isn't quite ready to give up on acoustic guitars. Though the folksy twangy vibes of Mumford and/or their kids have begun wearing down on the public, and it isn't really a wonder. There's a limit to what you can really do with an instrument that is pretty much the entire concept of being stripped down, even when it's dressed up with other instruments. Or so you'd think, until you hear Yvette Young.

It's hard to place exactly where Yvette Young fits in musically. You'd assume with her barebone instrumentation that she'd be a folk or country artist. But with the numerous crescendos and the abstract lyricisms she also fits in with some of the stranger members of the post-rock crowd. Then there's the consistent pull offs that put it closer to math-rock more than anything. It's all such a bizarre mishmash of influences that you don't expect them to work. But by a minute into Acoustics, her first collection of songs, any and all of these fears have evaporated.

Young's only studio recordings of current are the aptly titled Acoustics EP. The five tracks thrown together have taken months to craft, and even longer to build up the skills to actually play. A mix of violent slapping and plucking create a melody both pleasing yet hypnotising, like watching a blinking firefly as you drift off into sleep. The tracks are incredibly restful despite their technical prowess, mellow but hyperactive. It’s a truly bizarre mix of that by all expectations shouldn’t work.

Young's voice is strong throughout, .you realise that the EP is essential a duet with herself as she harmonises with her guitar. The weakest thing on the EP would have to be the lyrics which while at times are pretty abstract, do fall into clichéd areas a bit too often. That being said, the constant lyrical theme of the sea working through the tracks is actually quite interesting; linking the songs up as so they feel like they belong together rather than thrown together.

Last year was a massive year for Yvette Young; the Californian songstress managing to sell out two Japanese shows despite having a minuscule amount of representation. This year promises to be no different, what with catching the attention of alternative tastemakers Topshelf Records with the intro to Acoustics 'a map a string a light'. Her full band is just beginning to record on top of that. It's not bad for a collection of bedroom recordings given to the world at the tail end of last year. If the public are growing tired of the acoustic guitar, then Yvette Young will make them more than happy they stayed up a little longer.

Review Score: 8.3 out of 10

Acoustics is available now: