Chad Valley – Young Hunger (Loose Lips)

November 28, 2012 by  

Hugo Manuel, the electronic producer behind ‘Chad Valley’ has said goodbye to the lo-fi, bedroom recording sounds of earlier EPs in favour of a more clean-cut, euphoric sound in his debut album ‘Young Hunger’, which was released via indie label Loose Lips.

It’s cheesy. In parts, really quite cheesy. But aren’t we in an era now in which cheesy is coming right back around? Out with the old and in with the old Britney Spears? Oops era? Hugo Manuel once said “There’s a hell of a lot of really awful pop music, and I actually really like it.” This sentiment is shown in the song “My Girl” in which he directs a little nod to the Spice Girls with the lyrics ‘If you wanna be my girl/You got to get with my friends.’ But this is not to say that ‘Young Hunger’ sounds anything like this sort of cheese. The song “My Girl” sounds a little less Spice Girls and little more Owl City or that hideous band Hellogoodbye. I still can’t work out if it’s brilliant or just a bit crap. Probably a bit of both. The rest of the album has got quite an earnest sound, which takes away from any sort of irony that might be associated with that ‘awful pop music’ and it veers more in the direction of late 80s/early 90s synth-pop. It sounds like early Depeche Mode in parts, but only at its best.

Chad Valley deployed an impressive list of collaborators for ‘Young Hunger’ including the likes of Twin Shadow, Active Child, El Perro Del Mar, Glasser and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. You would think an album abundant in such talent might make for a rich and varied LP, however many of the songs sound quite similar. Despite my initial lukewarm response to this record, I actually really enjoy many of the songs. It’s consistently honest and heartfelt. But I always feel hormonal. Thus, it might not be everyone else’s cup of tea. “Tell all your friends” is a euphoric and intense song and evokes the beautiful Norwegian countryside that the album was recorded in. Lush green meadows, river beds and perfectly formed bugs and stuff. In fact, interwoven into each song with its sweeping synths and impressive falsetto, is a sense of appreciation and passion. Sure, it might be cheesy but that’s fine by me.

[rating:3]


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