indieBerlin is excited to tell you all about The Quiet & The Storm, the shiny new album from Munich-based quartet Young Chinese Dogs.
Opening track Hey There is a sunny introduction to this ten-track record – with chipper lyrics and sweet harmonies, it’s a mellow and light-hearted appetiser with an earworm-inducing melody. Gentle acoustic guitars provide a pretty accompaniment, without overshadowing the vocal line at any point.
As Long As I Can Sing is a country-tinged ballad, portraying a view of the world through rose-tinted glasses. For some, it might be a little saccharine, but if you’re into delicately constructed harmonies and fluid melodic movement, this’ll be right up your street. There’s a touch of curious guitar experimentation at the end – it’s intriguing, and we’d be interested to see how this could progress further.
The slightly more upbeat I Will features the same polyphonic vocal harmonies and weaving texture that we’ve come to expect from this record, but this time the guitar line is played with a little more, allowing it room to breathe and space to figure out where the track’s going. It’s followed by Goodbye, whose punchy percussion and twangy guitars make it an eyebrow-raising endeavour. It’s a charming indie-folk outing, with sharp lyrics and a pleasant vocal performance courtesy of Birte Hanusrichter.
Minute by Minute is a composition totally defined by gorgeous vocal harmonies; they provide a solid foundation for the subtle instrumental section. Contrapuntal and smooth, it’s a honey-eyed piece which flows beautifully and leaves you a little peckish for more. The slightly sharper Better Days offers a new insight into the mind of the composer, with a rather more strident approach to the melody line. In terms of standout tracks on the record, this is certainly a contender, with a bittersweet tone executed flawlessly.
If you’re into delicately constructed harmonies and fluid melodic movement, this’ll be right up your street
We’re then presented with A Quiet One, which manages to present some intelligent new ideas without losing the atmosphere carefully built up by the previous songs. Zesty guitars provide an captivating contrast to the softness of the vocal line – and the snappy ending is a great addition.
This is all frames the vocal ability of the lead singer excellently, although it doesn’t capture the attention of the audience as much as some of the other tracks on this album. It’s still a well-produced and solidly written track, but we can’t help feeling that the band have a little more up their sleeves that they’re not sharing with us just yet.
Peultimate song Come Undone is of a similar vein – it’s a little slower, with warm undertones and a soft melodic movement. Closing (and title) track The Quiet And The Storm takes the whole record up a notch, with gorgeous soprano hints and clever construction.
Photo credit: Timm Wolf