Youngsbower – Relayer

3 out of 5

Label: VHF Records

Produced by: Matthew Bower, Richard Youngs (?)

As befitting the stickered / crayoned cover as provided by the then-7 year old presumed relation of Matthew Bower, Rosalie, Bower, teaming up with Richard Youngs as the daringly named Youngsbower, produced a cheery, laidback affair which, though studio recorded and pared down to digestible snippets (compared to their single-song-per-LP-side live take, Site/Realm), comes across as sketches, without a real set identity. Not that the duo necessarily have to have clearly defined roles, but when you’re both multi-instrumentalists, perhaps some guidelines do help; when Relayer displays these – one side of the track “organic,” with guitar and / or keys; the other side manipulated electronics in the realm of Sunroof! psychedelia – it’s really driving stuff, and the album does successfully sprinkle in those moments at intervals so it’s never without something of real value a track or so away. But elsewhere, it’s just sort of hazy noise pleasantry, leaning more towards Bower’s projects, which makes Youngs’ contributions less apparent. Surely he’s part of the clatter, but the point being that on those tracks, there’s nothing that sets this pairing apart from those other Bower joints, with the exception of them being more laidback than his usual cacophony, and rather abbreviated feelings. (And I suppose that could be Youngs’ influence.)

Since about half of this strikes the more noteworthy balance, it definitely floats through my listen pile now and then, but the odd tracks that are more “generic” – compared to peers’ output – also allows the album to sink rather easily into the background.