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A Youthful Dream

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Album Review

Yung's lead songwriter and aloof frontman, Mikkel Holm Silkjær, positions himself as a reluctant child prodigy, having been brought up by musically inclined parents and, initially at least, a strong desire to resist them. This act of rebellion fortunately didn't last long; by age 11 he was coming to grips with both the guitar and drums. It wasn't long before he was embarking on various musical projects in his hometown of Aarhus, Denmark. So, when he came round to writing Yung's debut album, A Youthful Dream, he did so with ten years of songwriting experience behind him. Suffice to say it shows. Based on Silkjær's musical history, it sounds as if he has been through some creatively restrained times, predominantly in his previous hardcore band, Urban Achievers. Dissatisfied with all of the unwritten genre rules that come with hardcore — after all, isn't punk supposed to be an attack on the status quo? How can punk be expected to follow form? — he sought out something more fulfilling in his spare time; thus, Yung was born. The end result is something of a rare combination: all the angst of early adult life with the wisdom it takes to stop said angst from becoming a snarling lo-fi jam session.

The no-rules approach is very evident on A Youthful Dream, in that it ever so slightly defies the Yung EPs that precede it. Which makes total sense; Silkjær has mentioned that he doesn't "want Yung to be a band that you can put certain labels on," and he does "wish for it to be a project that can principally go in any given direction." So the decision to not churn out 12 full-throttle hits should have been expected. The change in pace becomes noticeable after the tempo-shifting dynamics of "Uncombed Hair." The track that follows, "Morning View," with its jangly, bright guitars and piano melodies, marks the biggest departure from the Yung of old on the entire album. The same midtempo benchmark is then reciprocated over the next few songs. The real debate is whether it works as well as it should; in all honesty, it feels like a minor lull. Minor is certainly the right term though, as the average track length is about three minutes, meaning that any high or low point isn't going to last too long. Indeed, the album shifts gears as soon as "Commercial" kicks in, followed directly by lead single "Pills," with the biggest hooks you'll hear over A Youthful Dream's 34-minute running time. On this obvious highlight and the rawest display of Silkjær's writing ability, the band as a whole seems more synced, hitting stride and fulfilling the emotional angst behind the music. It has to be said that the overall experience is far from Yung's magnum opus, but it is the sound of a young band finding its feet in a meaningful way, breaking down past experiences, and creating a record that isn't restricted by preexisting ideas of youth.

Biography

Formed: 2013 in Aarhus, Denmark

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Hailing from Aarhus, Denmark, punk quartet Yung were driven by frontman and songwriter Mikkel Holm Silkjær. Holm was raised in a musical family; his father was a member of Studson, his uncle owned a record store, and his mother was involved with local music venues. Initially he shunned music as an act of teenage defiance, but eventually began making his own tracks, discovering he shared the familial passion for music all along. Holm began learning guitar at ten years old, and by the time he was 16...
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A Youthful Dream, Yung
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