White Men Are Black Men Too
After winning the 2014 Mercury Prize for their debut LP, Dead, Scotland’s Young Fathers scampered off to craft this assertive, reactionary anti-pop concoction. The trio of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and “G” Hastings are proudly genre-less in their approach, yet they touch upon aspects of hip-hop, R&B and noise-infused new music, punctuating their tracks with unsuspecting melodies and hooks.
Young Fathers are protective of their freedom, so the attention that came from winning a renowned international award triggered a contrary reflex within them. Beyond the baiting title, the record is heady and murky. Recorded in makeshift and pro studios around the world, it’s deliberately disjointed – a mixtape reminiscent of Tom Waits’s penchant for a broke-down, found sound progression, Brian Wilson’s ear for layers upon layers of not quite the same thing, and jubilant gospel choirs losing themselves in the moment.
It’s the kind of rhythmic pastiche pop that Beck might’ve made when he was a more fearless sound scientist. Young Fathers’ alarm at being boxed in has led them to make an uncompromising, and, yes, prize-worthy pop statement.
Top track: Nest