Album Review: Whenyoung – ‘Paragon Songs’ — When The Horn Blows

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Whenyoung builds on the success of his first studio album with the release of the highly anticipated ‘Paragon Songs’.

The brilliant duo of Aoife Power and Andrew Flood return with the group’s second album. Following up ‘Reasons to Dream’ was no easy feat, but Whenyoung seemed to have surpassed it ten times over, with the new album tapping into its darker, more electronic side.

The singles released prior to the record were undoubtedly some of the most notable from the album. The ‘Rubik’s Cube’ will no doubt have had fans eager to hear the rest of Whenyoung’s new work. The track is undeniable in its power and ability to grab the listener’s attention. It dives right into what the duo have been working on since their debut LP.

Another track that preceded the release of ‘Paragon Songs’ was ‘Shame Train’, the single that opened Whenyoung’s last album. A decision that the team will have thought a lot about, I’m sure, and it seems to have been the perfect one. The track is the perfect reintroduction to Whenyoung: progressively intense drum beats bring in Power’s vocals and suddenly we’re completely immersed in the group’s work. It’s one that I’m sure will be a hit with live audiences, as it has everything you could want in a track: strong drums and lyrics, which build up to a huge discharge in its choruses. The track features Whenyoung’s talents and demonstrates his ability to tame tracks with darker sentiments, as we’ve experienced plenty of upbeat, super-indie numbers in the duo’s past. ‘Shame Train’ kicks off the sophomore album perfectly.

The group continues to demonstrate their sheer talent throughout the rest of the record, with a real mastery of electronic sounds that give the album a serious sense of power and confidence. ‘Paragon Songs’ really oozes quality and confidence. ‘The Laundress’ in particular revolves heavily around these big electronic sounds and the track really feels power-packed.

The group has stated that the new album is an exploratory journey through the dark depths of self-criticism. […] It is a self-help and rite of passage album. These themes are abundantly present in the entire record. The aforementioned darkness is possibly the most moving feature of ‘Paragon Songs’.

The pair embarked on a UK/IRE tour in April, and choosing a set list will no doubt be a pain in the ass. Whenyoung has an impressive back catalog to choose from, as well as a host of singles from the new record, including ‘A Little Piece of Heaven’, ‘Unchained’ and ‘The Laundress’. In addition to these huge tracks, there are the unheard ones that will be released with the album. Among these are some tracks that fans are going to devour.

One of them is the brilliant ‘Even More’ found at the end of ‘Paragon Songs’. It’s a commanding number, once again with a real emphasis on driving the drums throughout. The reverberating vocals are unmissable and the track once again feels very powerful. It really is a brilliantly crafted track. He builds such suspense through the slow drumming in the verses, giving most of the emphasis to Power’s words. This is followed by hugely climactic drums in the choruses. When performed live this track could be huge.

As the record closes out, the duo shows no signs of letting up in terms of track quality. The ones on the back of the record are just as striking as the ones that open the sophomore record. In particular, the ending theme ‘Gan Ainm’.

The final number perfectly demonstrates what Power and Flood can do, its musical arrangement giving rise to an unforgettable vocal performance, as powerful as any you’ll hear today. It’s the perfect ending to ‘Paragon Songs’, and it’s sure to be a fan favorite. It seems inevitable that the lyrics to this one will really resonate with fans when they get their hands on the duo’s latest release. The track itself feels less dark and more hopeful, which is the perfect ending to the album. Considering that it is all about self-reflection ETC, ‘Gan Ainm’ can offer listeners hope in its upbeat and upbeat tone.

‘Paragon Songs’ is a brilliant record, and it’s a body of work Whenyoung should be proud of. Their next tour is sure to be just as brilliant, as fans will love the duo’s latest album!

words for matthew caslin

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