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The Poems - Young America - The Red Alert

29 September 2008
The Red Alert
Marcel Feldmar

These Poems are from Scotland. Scottish poetry slipping out of the speakers. The musical talent on this album is pretty astounding - bringing in influences from a range of bands that comes together to create something simple and delicate and touched by the light of spring time and sweet yearning feelings that drift effortlessly over a sound that is simultaneously expansive and airy. First off, the guests on this album include Isobel Campbell, formerly of Belle & Sebastian, who sends her vocals across the rolling melodies, Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub, and also players who have spent time with Del Amitri and the Proclaimers. The band itself is comprised of Robert Hodgens, formerly of the Bluebells, Adrian Barry from the High Fidelity, Bobby Paterson from Love and Money (who also did some work as a producer for Primal Scream), and singers Kerry Polwart and Amy Ogletree (whose father was the drummer for the Simple Minds - not that it makes any difference to the music being played, but I just thought it was kind of cool).

Some of the songs on Young America move a little more upbeat and poppy, like the finger-snapping, skip-down-the-beach movements of "See The Sunrise" or "I Am A Believer," but the strongest and deepest songs on this CD are the more melancholy tunes. "I Just Want Out Of Here" is perhaps the best example, alongside "Ballad Of A Bitter End." Orchestrated tunes of desire and the pull towards it and the ache of losing it. The melodics of mid-era David Bowie combined with the twee rhythms of early Belle & Sebastian move together to create something sweetly sad. These songs are searching and soulful, with the vocals pulling at every heart beat. The strength is that it manages to do all of this without being clichéd or sappy. It's just real and honest feeling that you can connect with, every time it rains, every time you flash on a memory of a past sadness, a lost love, a wish that still wants to be fulfilled. Sometimes poetry isn't worth reading, but these Poems are great.

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