Young Statues - Flatlands Are Your Friend (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Young Statues

Flatlands Are Your Friend (2014)

Run For Cover

Young Statues have really grown since their 2011 self-titled. I expected them to do bigger things but not as big as Flatlands Are Your Friend. Their sound has invariably shifted into a much more diverse landscape and it's a pleasant note how much you can't peg down their sonic signature. It's all over the place but in a really great way. They've really stepped it up and in broad strokes which is what makes this record melodically haunting and cathartic to the core. Beautifully so, I should add.

They pride themselves on dreary rhythm sections this time around and what makes this work is the emo paintbrush that envelopes the majority of tracks at hand. Young Statues seems more developed and reassured than they did in 2011. Now, they're focused and concise. This indie-emo tones concentrated in the opening salvos of "Natives" and "Run The River Dry". Both tracks are reflective and come off like a gut punch. They pave the way well for the darker elements to come with bits and pieces of the '80s expectedly popping up. "Further Away" and "Flatlands, Pt. II" are grand gestures set in this tone. They give way to the notions of heavy influence from the likes of R.E.M and most notably, The Cure. Soothing, telling and very profound.

The fuzz, reverb and feedback all complement the distortion at hand in a record that hinges on simplicity. It's about minute sculptures and subtle settings. This minimalistic vibe digs into you so much on the dramatic, folk-laden acoustic "Ain't A Bad Thing To Lose" yet it's brilliantly upended by "No Shadow". This particular spot feels eerily draped in Brit-indie-punk but with Young Statues' own stamp. This echoes down into the distorted dream-pop closer "Strangers In A Dream" which packs the hazy magic you knew they were capable of but are still shocked to see them pull out of their hat.

In the grand scheme of things, Young Statues are well perched, label-wise and experimentally-wise. They feel free to explore whatever sounds they want and it's highly apparent. Some parts could have been a bit more cut-loose and louder but all in all, this record sticks. A pleasant surprise, indeed.