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Young Fathers

Cocoa Sugar

Ninja Tune

Mar 06, 2018 Young Fathers Bookmark and Share

Young Fathers do not tend to mention politics explicitly on Cocoa Sugar but the weight of three years of political turmoil since their last album looms large over this new record. Like Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., it captures the anger and frustration of the current moment without directly addressing the cause. Instead, it lets its ingenious mix of soul, Krautrock, and hip-hop speak for itself.

Cocoa Sugar deals in extremes, both emotionally and sonically, and its songs lurch violently between moments of beauty and ugliness. At one moment Young Fathers will sound weary, as they do on album opener “See How,” and at others they will sound ferocious, such as on the pulsating “Wow” or “Toy.”

Similarly, the album finds an elusive middle-ground between pop accessibility and the band’s avant-garde impulses. It is certainly not easy listening but these are pop songs at their core, complete with infectious hooks that beg to be heard at the loudest volume. More neatly than ever before, the band has blended together their disparate influences to make a record that is provocative and defiantly original.

If these songs sound demo-like at first, that is only because they have been so ruthlessly stripped-back. Young Fathers have condensed their sound down to its key elements so that no moment on this album feels wasted. It helps to give these songs a timelessalmost spiritualelegance that brings forward the latent influence of religion in their music, providing the emotional thrust to highlights “In My View,” “Lord,” and “Holy Ghost.”

Cocoa Sugar is a rare achievement; a record that simplifies a band’s sound without diluting it. Somehow, Young Fathers have made their most accessible record yet but also their most introspective and necessary. It serves as further proof that they are one of the U.K.‘s very best bands. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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March 7th 2018

Music that you can gain the expression of what it means is great music. When it comes to anger, it is a feeling that is caused by something or someone else. Naturally, people are ok when they aren’t around others or things go their way. The moment something is out of place, that causes the emotion to happen. My point is music that is made expressing your anger or emotions that you are going through is real as far as I am concerned. I realize that there are songs that are made by others. To truly make a great song, you have had to go through an extreme emotion before in order for the words to relate to others that are going through the same situation.