Album Review

Whenyoung - Paragon Songs

A collection of songs which - although mixed in results - have been given the space to just be.

Whenyoung - Paragon Songs
There was a time, back in the heady days of the late-2010s (aka just before the ‘before times’) when it was near impossible to avoid Whenyoung. Between scoring every second support slot in the capital to being the name on the tip of other artists’ tongues, when the then-trio of Aoife Power, Niall Burns and Andrew Flood geared up to release debut album ‘Reasons To Dream’ in 2019, expectations were high. Four years later, a marriage up, a member down, away from both the big city and the major label, the Whenyoung we find on ‘Paragon Songs’ seem to have shed any pressure that had cooked up around them: this is a collection of songs which - although mixed in results - have been given the space to just be. Opener ‘Shame Train’ is closest, perhaps, to the outfit’s starting point, its stormy nature akin, perhaps, to Aoife and Andrew’s new Kentish milieu, while ‘The Laundress’ sits in direct contrast, sonically bright, a beat-led track that owes a little to Chvrches’ early sound. ‘Ghost’, meanwhile, takes an unashamed stab at a big pop moment. The pair’s foray into more synth-based styles doesn’t always sit so well: ‘A Little Piece Of Heaven’ sees Aoife’s vocals stretched uncomfortably on a track which is ultimately paper-thin, but when their new palette works, it does so beautifully. Case in point, ‘Shed My Skin’. Here, Aoife’s feather-light voice offers intimacy on one, indie-influenced hand - think the emotionally-intense side of Wolf Alice - and on the other, there’s a steely pop nous under. In short, it’s suited to both Sunday afternoon festival tears and the potential fame of a hammed-up television montage. Across ‘Paragon Songs’ there’s ultimately the sense that this is Whenyoung going through their song cupboards and trying things on for size, and for that alone, it’s a pleasure to hear.

Tags: whenyoung, Reviews, Album Reviews

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