Richard Youngs - Amplifying Host (4 stars)

Resolutely avant-garde workings of simple folk songs

Richard Youngs - Amplifying Host


A Glasgow-based librarian with a cracked choirboy voice, Richard Youngs alternates between experimental releases on tiny labels, and more ‘songwriterly’ albums on US indie Jagjaguwar. This is one of the latter, but it’s resolutely avant-garde. At their heart, these are simple folk songs, but Youngs interrogates their form, working over phrases and shaping moods. In some respects, Amplifying Host is a refinement of January’s exploratory Atlas of Hearts, with its crystalline acoustic guitar figures and double-tracked vocals. But it also recalls 2004’s River Through Howling Sky, with skewed electric guitar lines beamed in from Saturn. While not his most accessible work, it’s another fascinating transmission from the shadow world.

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