Young Dreams - Between Places

It’s the intertwined orchestral moments and breezy exoticness that really sets Young Dreams apart.

Label: Modular

Rating: 7

On eponymous track ‘Young Dreams’, Matias Tellez asserts “We’re restless, that’s why we keep on moving, not empty, because of our young dreams.” Debut offering ‘Between Places’ more than follows suit. After forming back in 2009 through Tellez, the Norwegian symphonic pop outfit has gradually grown into a fully-fledged ensemble, with a lineup of up to twelve musicians at times. But while the fusing of so many young musicians risks a potentially chaotic output, Young Dreams have managed to somehow turn that chaos into a wonderfully intimate-sounding affair.
From its elaborate spaciousness to weaving harmonies, ‘Between Places’ is an album of luscious dream pop, intricately built around grand symphonic arrangements. A bit like The Beach Boys had they replaced the surfboards with a keyboard. Take ‘The Girl That Taught Me To Drink And Fight’, for example. Stretching to over 10 minutes long, its layered backing arrangements and rich instrumentation channel echoes of ‘Pet Sounds’ throughout. Even the vocals have a breezy, Brian Wilson-esque feel to them. But, while the influence is quite clear, it’d be careless to pass Young Dreams off as just a new-wave version of The Beach Boys. Rather, their sound is a lot more ethereal and experimental.
It’s the intertwined orchestral moments and breezy exoticness that really sets them apart. With the sound shifting constantly between the darting strings of previously released ‘Fog of War’, the marching percussion of ‘Footprints’ and the glossy, blue-skied synths of ‘Wounded Hearts Forever’, the album leaves no room to overindulge in one form for too long. In doing so, Young Dreams have created a collection that compacts all the sunny sounds of youthful hopes and expectations into one blissful whole. Imagine how you would expect the soundtrack of The Snowman to be, had they taken a detour to a tropical island in the height of summer. Or even just the sounds of a young Scandinavian band, chasing their dreams in the same exotic surroundings. Because, that’s basically the motivation behind ‘Between Places’. And they’ve executed it well.