They’re Not Going to Put A Smile on Your Face, But You Won’t Forget Their Music in a Hurry – Young Fathers are Bringing their Bleak Genius to Berlin

Young Fathers

They have already won a Mercury Prize. They had several songs featured in Danny Boyle’s T2: Trainspotting. And they are coming to the Columbia Theater next Monday.

They are also possibly the most genuinely cool group to have ever come from Edinburgh… admittedly Edinburgh is not a city famed for being edgy (it’s alright, I’m from there, I’m allowed to mock it). But these guys would be one of the most effortlessly cool to have come out of just about any city on earth.

Since signing with a label in 2012, the trio have impressed critics everywhere. They won the Scottish Album of the year in 2013, even though their EP “Tape Two” didn’t actually meet the length requirements for an album.

2014’s “Dead” won the Mercury Album of the Year Award, and had pretty much everyone who heard it raving about it

Their first true album, 2014’s “Dead” won the Mercury Album of the Year Award, and had pretty much everyone who heard it raving about it. It is dark, captivating, and emotionally raw.

Having released another great album in “White Men are Black Men Too”, Young Fathers went on to work with Massive Attack on their track “Voodoo in My Blood”. They then supported Massive Attack on their 2016 tour.

Going from strength to strength, 6 Young Fathers tracks were included on the soundtrack for the sequel to Danny Boyle’s masterful look at the Edinburgh drug-scene, Trainspotting. Boyle said that the track “Only God Knows” (which was written specifically for the film) became the “heart-beat” of T2: Trainspotting. Using a local community choir, the track perfectly mixes hip-hop and melancholy congregational singing. It really is the perfect track for the film.

when you really delve into them, you realise that this is their darkest work to date

Young Fathers are now touring in support of their third album, “Cocoa Sugar”. You could be forgiven for thinking this is a more upbeat record after a superficial listen. In many ways, some of the tracks sound less bleak and angsty. But when you really delve into them, you realise that this is their darkest work to date.

The music is a little less rough around the edges than on previous records. But they have lost none of their unique charm. The lyrics are as uncompromising as ever. The finger pointing at those in power is as bold and unapologetic as ever.

But the darkness in the music is more subtle. On “Lord”, it is the ever-so-slightly out of tune piano that signals that this isn’t a happy track. Growing from what could have been a pretty gospel-inspired hip-hop track, Young Fathers instead juxtapose it with discord and electric feedback.

They don’t make music the way you are meant to, or how other people are making music.

They don’t make music the way you are meant to, or how other people are making music. It’s one of the reasons the critics all love them. And I will happily count myself among one of their numbers. I hope they keep making jarring, edgy, bleak, angry music for a long time to come.

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