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A review of...
White Men Are Black Men Too by Young Fathers
That difficult post-Mercury-victory album from the saviors of music that means something
It's been quite a roller-coaster year for Young Fathers. They've actually been going for ages, but most of us probably didn't really notice until they won last year's Mercury Prize and then snubbed the right wing media in a brilliantly brazen press conference afterwards. The band certainly have an interesting and novel take on dealing with the press, and this record is no exception. The promo is accompanied by some detailed notes which act as a kind of instruction manual and mission statement rolled into one (sample quotes: "when everything is post post post post something older and better where do the exceptions go?", "Fuck these constrictive selling boxes"). These are all just attention grabbing Easter Eggs though, because the main thing that sets Young Fathers apart from 99% of today's acts is that their music is genuinely exciting, genuinely ground breaking and genuinely just great. Ultra-fat basslines, timeless organ hooks and beats made from Christ-knows-what are the staples of White Men Are Black Men Too. Then there's the socially conscious words which dabble in corporate greed, crime and religion but always come off as being unflinchingly positive for the future. This isn't traditional Rock n Roll or punk, and it's not a hip-hop record or a dance record. But it is a very danceable thing and it does make you believe that there are people in music with something to say about the world, so maybe it is a punk record after all. Maybe I shouldn't be putting it into one of those constrictive selling boxes. Oops.
"Rain or Shine" - already sounds like a classic with a melody that seems like it's been engraved on your brain for years. A song that will surely be regarded as a generational high point in years to come.
"Old Rock n Roll" - an almost-title-track in which Young Fathers embrace their crazy. If you like Das Racist mix tapes, Busta Rhymes, MIA or Tune-yards then this might be the track that draws you into their world.