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Richard YoungsGlass Modern
Released: 25th January 2019
With perhaps the biggest discography of any currently recording artist, it can be easy to feel that you know what's coming but with Richard Youngs you never do. Dissident, his latest solo album (this year) is drop dead gorgeous. True to the title, Youngs has swerved any expectation of a crazed avant garde opus, instead coming to the table with a sublime collection of songs that sound not unlike a cosmic shaman beaming down to earth to record with Palace Brothers or even ditch-era Neil Young. Using his now customary double or triple tracked vocals, Youngs spins a thin web of song across sparse arrangements that always hang together beautifully. At times sounding like Arthur Russell collaborating with Bill Callahan in the mid 90s. One of the most beautiful things Richard Youngs has been involved with, and that's saying something.
Dissident is a hallucination of a legendary lost Samizdat-style recording of the legendary lost Richard Youngs Band. It’s not clear to me that it is against anything in particular, and as such it is not literally dissident. In fact, I’m a little lost how or why it is dissident, save for being informed by the imagined provisional recordings of pre-Glasnost protest. Perhaps the wordless scratch vocals are voicing dissent, but I remember having fun. So much so, I couldn’t stop myself from fleshing out the rough nylon guitar songs to a full band arrangement, recorded in multiple spaces. Which is as far from the Samizdat spirit as you could care to go.