Ever since the very beginning, Young Fathers have taken a dark delight in confounding listeners.
Early singles like ‘The Guide’ bumped to a hip-hop pulse and a punkish energy yet this was little more than a bait and snatch for the tight, danceable experimental pop that flooded the phenomenal DEAD and saw them shed the hugely misleading “Scottish hip-hop” tag.
After DEAD led to a surprise Mercury award and bigger stages and prizes seemed assured they followed it up with the dense, muggy, complex Black Men Are White Men Too, now ‘Lord’ offers the first taste of the trio’s third record and what have they given us?
Is it a call for redemption? Or a message from another plane? Whatever it is, it’s proof that Young Fathers are still a band like no other, because in the best way possible, it sounds like several different songs at once.
One song is a gentle, baby’s own piano, one part a gospel choir of harshly treated vocals, one part bleak electronics evoking a droning cello or a glass wall vibrating
As a voice murmurs “her love is blind, her love is kind, her love is mine”, this is the most contented they’ve ever sounded but it’s only seconds until the moment of contemplation is disrupted by synthetic bass purps and burbles and electronics that shriek like a tortured soul.
It’s Dante’s Divine Comedy in a song and the sign of an act that still has no shortage of ways to confound, an intriguing scene setter for where the trio might go next.
Words: Max Sefton