[sic] Magazine

Amor – Paradise / In Love An Arc

Once upon a time, 2010 to be precise, prolific experimental weirdo Richard Youngs was challenged to make a “pop” album. The Glaswegian resident duly obliged, Beyond The Valley Of Ultrahits was born and it was, perhaps surprisingly, brilliant. Alongside three bandmates, Amor is yet another of his guises and … guess what? Their debut recording is brilliant too, as well as being the closest Youngs has sounded to that record since.

Youngs, on typically creaky vocal, is accompanied on the project by the chirpy electronics of Luke Fowler (an award winning film-maker and visual artist), as well as by drummer and percussionist Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand/The Yummy Fur fame, not forgetting Norwegian Avant-composer Michael Francis Duch’s striking double-bass grooves. Together the four-piece commit just two tracks to this strong 12″ release, but each does weigh in accordingly at nearly 14 minutes. Much of this run-time may superficially be reserved for fairly linear house-type electro, but these analogue recordings are given both a matt finish and treated to some inevitable noodling in order to lead the funky beats firmly astray.

“Paradise” opens up all the same with a volley of kick-drums straight from the New Order hand book, Duch’s wandering jazz-bass bouncing behind hand-clap percussion and chiming piano chords. A big New Wave chorus led by Youngs that wouldn’t be out of place on a period Bowie song tops things off nicely too. Very decent a crisp house production it may be, but you’d be entitled at this point to have a second quizzical look at the names of those involved nonetheless.

Right on cue, “In Love An Arc” gets weirder quickly. Coalescing from a minute-long’s squeaking and parping orchestral tune-up, scurrying mice scraping their claws over the string section, a knock-out beat suddenly slaps into full focus and it’s paired with a classic two-note piano motif, Youngs’ killer vocal meanwhile getting all David Byrne circa X-Press 2’s “Lazy”. No dance-floor-ready outro this time around, though, the track latterly heading off instead into chilly kosmiche repeats, that dirty bass groove returning to steer the ship at its finale through some minimalist improv. The track’s lack of predictability is part, of course, of its charm. Much more of all this please. In love with Amor. The End.

~Paradise / In Love An Arc is released 31st March 2017 via Night School.~