Album of the Week: Young Fathers | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, November 30th, 2023  

Album of the Week: Young Fathers

Cocoa Sugar Out Now via Ninja Tune

Mar 09, 2018 Album of the Week
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For this week’s album of the week, we could begin in a tired tirade on how we should forefront any dialogue on resistance, and especially from people of color. And that’s true, but to label Cocoa Sugar as “protest music” would overlook the electrified soul of Young Fathers that swerves in a love-drunk stupor through their 10-year output. Yes, the Scottish trio have some pointed barbs to stab into the eyes of the xenophobic and racist forces that hold the Western world under. But what drives those points deep is the wobbly hammer that forges light and prayer out of their shredded dissonance. And no doubt, while Cocoa Sugar attacks the alt-right with more wonky frequencies and unapologetic stances than ever, it’s alsoin a head-scratching paradoxYoung Fathers’ most accessible and divine banger yet.

Of course, an access ramp for Young Fathers might still be a tiger trap for the uninitiated. Even with all the soulful cries and pithy choruses that now abound in Cocoa Sugar, the trio still churn their soul and gospel roots through a hand-cranked cheese grinder of electronics, exposing raw pulp underneath. Just before they swear by compassion on the piano-laced torch song “Lord,” “Turn” rends apart white saviors and their privilege“don’t you turn my brown eyes blue/I’m nothing like you.” And you can dance like a fool to the brooding EBM pulse of “Wow,” but Young Fathers jab cheekily at the unfounded optimism of sheltered Millennials when they drawl “everything’s so amazing/I’m going to put myself first.”

Still, that relentless pruning of artifice is precisely what makes Cocoa Sugar such a righteous service. In what can best be described as “D’Angelo in the pulpit,” “Border Girl” sings Young Fathers’ sweetest praises to immigrants; and right after that, “Holy Ghost” funnels the fanaticism of religion into solidarity with asylum seekers via another baffling but brilliant junkyard of grooves. This ongoing dialogue between old world faith and modern paranoia lends to the pared-back essence of Cocoa Sugar as much as the damaged productionneither relies on tired tropes to elevate your weary mind.

Without a doubt, the disjointed parts of Cocoa Sugar mesh into a beguiling whole. Whether our protagonists throw themselves into floor-filling mayhem (“Toy”) or sunken stomping pop (“In My View”), Young Fathers cram more in three minutes than most bands can state in three years. Tune in and listen up, kidsthis is how you smuggle the revolution to the masses.

Also read our review of Young Fathers’ Cocoa Sugar.

Young Fathers Tour Dates:

03/09 Austin, TX - The New York Time Magazine Showcase
03/20 Birmingham, UK - O2 Institute 2
03/21 London, UK - Roundhouse
03/22 Bristol, UK - Trinity Centre [SOLD OUT]
03/23 Manchester, UK - O2 Ritz
03/24 Glasgow, UK - Barrowland Ballroom [SOLD OUT]
03/28 Dublin, Ireland - Academy
04/06 Brussels, Belgium - AB Box
04/07 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso Noord
04/09 Berlin, Germany - Columbia Theatre
04/10 Prague, Czech Republic - MeetFactory o.p.s [SOLD OUT]
04/11 Zurich, Switzerland - Rote Fabrik
04/12 Paris, France - La Badaboum
05/01 New York, NY - Elsewhere (Zone One)
05/02 Los Angeles, CA - Moroccan Lounge
05/04 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl*
05/05 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl*
05/25 London, UK - All Points East
05/26 Belfast, UK - BBC Biggest Weekend Festival
06/15 Mannheim, Germany - Maikmarkt-Gelande
06/15 St Austell, UK - The Eden Project [SOLD OUT] +
06/16 St Austell, UK - The Eden Project [SOLD OUT] +
07/12 Madrid, Spain - Mad Cool Festival 2018
07/14 Bilbao, Spain - BBK Live 2018
07/25 Kiev, Ukraine - Arch Of Diversity
07/27 Moscow, Russia - Park Live Festival 2018
08/30 Thornhill, Scotland - Electric Fields, Drumlanrig Castle

+ with Massive Attack
*with LCD Soundsystem & Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Album of the Week Runner-ups (Also Released This Week):

David Byrne: American Utopia (Todomundo/Nonesuch)

of Montreal: White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood (Polyvinyl)

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