Rock, Sunny Side Up
Austin-based rockers the Young release their second studio album Dub Egg this week on Matador Records, following up their success with 2010’s Voyagers of Legend. Full of rocking riffs and youthful exuberance, Dub Egg moves somewhat away from the psychedelic swagger that characterized the band’s debut record.
The opening track, “Livin’ Free,” starts out with rambling, distorted guitar riffs rolling over hazy, scruffy vocals to create a big sound ripe for the wide open road. “Don’t Hustle For Love” takes up the energetic vibe—it’s bouncy and sprightly, but not in any kind of self-conscious way. The Young excel at writing songs that don’t subscribe to easy pop formulas or musical clichés. Instead, Dub Egg resounds with careful, labyrinthine guitar melodies interwoven with understated percussion, as on “Dance with the Ramblers” or the catchy riffs on “White Cloud” and “Talking to Rose.”
In fact, the entire album feels like something of a ramble. Its laid-back tempo and guitar-driven instrumental interludes pervade the album, making it seem to stretch far past the brief forty minutes that it actually lasts. “Poisoned Hell” could almost be a Modest Mouse tune, with its raw guitars and offhand tone and “Only Way Out” shows the band trying out folksy country ballads complete with sliding steel guitars and a rich acoustic sound. Borrowing, perhaps, from the country-rock greats of yore (think Neil Young), the album adds its own shoegaze flavor to the genre. While Dub Egg is far from revolutionary, the Young demonstrate they’ve matured on their sophomore album and developed their sound, while still retaining something of the freshness that defines them.