What can be said that hasn’t already been said? “Verily there is nothing new under the sun”, wrote Melville in 1855. And so it is. But in the absence of new things, we recreate the old ones. The maps have all been filled, but that hasn’t stopped us from exploring. The same can be said of The Young’s latest release, “Dub Egg”, out today on Matador Records. Reminiscent of Crazy Horse era Neil Young, the (indeed young) Austin, TX quartet injects a heavy dose of Americana into their already ragged sound.
Over the past ten years, a wide range of avenues have been explored in search of a “new thing.” “Yawn”, I say. Ironically, all of them have been done before. It’s a simple mathematical fact that there are only so many notes and combinations of notes that can be weaved into song. New melodies inescapably evoke the old ones. The Young are no exception, but as I’ve argued before, it’s less about the notes and more about the “feeling” behind them. It’s the snarling distortion, swarming reverb, and sparsely accented pedal steel mingled with the rasp of frontman Hans Zimmerman’s vocals that bring to mind wide open spaces, complete with dust devils and cacti.
Dub Egg’s opener, “Livin’ Free” is a full-throttle run-thru of heartland aesthetics, while there are times throughout “NUMB”, an anthemic, alt-country B-side viber, that I’m looking for another log to throw on the campfire I’m not allowed to have in my living room. Until I kill my landlord, a flannel shirt will have to suffice...
And remember, denim is always underrated from the waist up.
by Jimmy O.