They’ll Take It From Here Now
The old saying that one can judge a person by the company they keep seems to be true in the case of KRISTEENYOUNG. A woman who has sung duets with David Bowie and Brian Molko and opened for Frank Black and Morrissey is probably the best-known secret to the populace. Achieving accolades from legends while being ignored by the music industry hasnâ€šÃ„Ã´t hindered the subversive stride of Ms. Young. KRISTEENYOUNG, the band, is an indie two-piece that includes keyboardist and vocalist Kristeen Young, the individual, and drummer â€šÃ„ÃºBabyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ Jeff White.Kristeen Young isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t your â€šÃ„Ãºtypical femaleâ€šÃ„Ã¹ singer/songwriter/pianist, meaning she isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t wilting or delicate. Fifth album The Orphans displays this perfectly. Youngâ€šÃ„Ã´s keyboard playing emulates the style of 1950s rock nâ€šÃ„Ã´ roll artists Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard. Lively and thrashing, her fingertips fly off the eighty-eighty, pummeling the audience with dissonant yet melodic songs of sarcastic observations. White bashes with precision and fierce energy in accompaniment. The aesthetic is an entire package that encompasses elaborate costumes and an operatic vocal power tending towards the 1970s Glam era, like that of originators Sparks.
The group from St. Louis is now steeped in the arty, often pretentious New York scene, in juxtaposition with an outsider past of adoption, Native American roots and oppressive Christian upbringing. All of these archetypes come to the forefront of The Orphansâ€šÃ„Ã´ lyrical themes. Kristeen Young is an exciting lyricist speaking of sexual liberation and mortality. Unfortunately it is often difficult to decipher the raw Beat-like wordplay among the vocal twists and shrieks. â€šÃ„ÃºKill the Fatherâ€šÃ„Ã¹ contains the humorous call to â€šÃ„ÃºPush Prince off his heels and feel/ Freeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºStrangle Bowie with his neckerchief/Freeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ as a message for artists to rid themselves of the restraints of their influences. Gem â€šÃ„ÃºUnder the Landlocked Moonâ€šÃ„Ã¹ turns liberalism on its head and lambastes Middle America bashing with phrases like â€šÃ„ÃºKansas City is where the problem is/Right? /You donâ€šÃ„Ã´t even know what state itâ€šÃ„Ã´s in,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and proclaiming despite her geographic location â€šÃ„ÃºI know only Devil music sets you free.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Feisty and tough talking, the music mirrors the same confrontational approach. There is modernity to the industrial sampling interspersed about in songs such as â€šÃ„ÃºLondon Cryâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„Ãº9.â€šÃ„Ã¹
It is brave to attempt big, noisy rock nâ€šÃ„Ã´ roll without the use of guitar, but the feat is pulled off marvelously by KRISTEENYOUNG with album The Orphans. The duo youâ€šÃ„Ã´ve never heard of is truly independent and worth hearing.