15 Aug 2012
Damien Youth - Sunfield Review
It finally dawned on me that the best chance of finding a good entry point would be to go straight to the source, so I asked Damien himself.
I ended up with "Sunfield", an album originally released in 1999, but re-released on vinyl recently ( in 2011 ).
It's a great album that wears it's influences on it's sleeve in a respectful and forward-looking fashion, and uses them as a springboard for his own fanciful and evocative creations.
Opening track, "Morning Cloak Sunfield Floating Stage Fright" is an ambitious mini suite that takes in a whimsical, and presumably purposefully Donovanesque lyric ( "Lady Juniper with glitter in her hair" ) and couples it with a more hard rocking chordal sequence that channels the more deranged acoustic output of Bowie's "Man Who Sold the World" album ( "After All" etc. ), something that Bowie himself seemed either unable or unwilling to do after releasing that album.
Elsewhere there's an excellent cross section of upbeat acoustic flower pop ( Sunfield is the perfect title for this album ), and more delicate and contemplative fingerstyle folk tunes, ala the Beatle's "Blackbird".
The only criticism I can muster is that a couple of tracks have synthesized horn parts that are perfectly adequate, but make you long for the real thing - otherwise this piece of sunny, sixties influenced folk-pop is pretty much tops in my book.
Readers of this blog will also undoubtedly enjoyed Mr Youth's "Retrospectoscope 1966-1970", recorded under the pleasingly daft moniker of Walter Ghoul's Lavender Brigade - a prime piece of 1967 style London psych-pop that, to this listener at least, beats the Dukes of Stratosphear at their own game.
You can buy it on vinyl or digitally by clicking the bandcamp link below.