Something is afoot in Braemar, and it’s not just the Queen and co turning up once a year to nearby Balmoral. The Royal Family may be there to soak up the natural beauty but, Youth Team – aka Angus Upton – is creating it up there. I Have Heard The Signal, I Am Waiting For The Call is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful albums to come out of Scotland in a long while. Or from anywhere else for that matter.
Given the Highland landscape of origin, it’s perhaps no surprise that across 12 tracks, the feeling that most comes up is a sense of space. Vast vast space. It’s chilling, ethereal, insistent, and quite spectacular.
A one-man band, Upton has conjured up a fully realised electronic representation of landscape. Huge in scale at times with disorientating scrapes and shards of noise, but, also wildly beautiful with some of the most delicate keyboard melodies you’ll ever hear cascading around.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the first track is called ‘Michael Mann’. For there is certainly a soundtrack feel to the whole thing. A very voguish production style these past few years, obviously, but Youth Team pulls it off with a good deal more aplomb than most. Add in the sometimes forceful drum machines, electronic quacks, and seriously groovy basslines on tracks like ‘The State’ and, in Angus Upton, we have a force very much to be reckoned with.
Gorgeous and extremely impressive music. Sometimes chilling, maybe even a little alienating but, that seems very apt in these isolated times. And, if things do ever feel a little too discordant and introspective, we come back to the fabulous, chugging groove on tracks like ‘I Am Alone In The Mountains’.
You’ll be hard pushed to find a better record this year. A huge talent.
Words: Vosne Malconsorts