WL//WH Review: THE UNDERGROUND YOUTH’s most Sincere and Introspective album “The Falling”

WL//WH LP Review  The Underground Youth  

Manchester-born, Berlin-based The Undeground Youth led by Craig Dyer released their new, most sincere and introspective tenth album “The Falling” via Fuzz Club Records on March 12. The new album is a shadowy folk-noir masterpiece with 8 songs where Dyer wrote ‘stories’ for ‘retrieval’ and ‘regain’. He handled the vocals, guitars, piano, harmonica, accordion, and percussion, while with him are Leonard Kaage (guitars, slide guitar, drums, string arrangements, piano, organ, synth, typewriter, percussion),  Olya Dyer (drums, güiro),  Max James (bass), Astrid Porzig (violin), Magnus Westergaard (additional vocals and guitar). The whole sounding in “The Falling” is at times majestic but mainly romantic and introverted, but also quite social and ambitious. The band plays with huge skills the pretty finite and globally adored music style of indie-folk, and with a bent to jeopardy I’d add; on the nicely hidden rails of post-punk when tried by a mostly acoustic team, and it is all a glory.

“Lyrically this album finds me at my most honest and autobiographical. I still shroud the reality of what I have written within something of a fictional setting, but the honesty and the romance that shines throughout the record is more sincere than it has been in my previous work. The idea was to strip back the band to allow for lyrical breathing space says Dyer.

Do not expect to hear any old-school post-punk in there but the same ‘dangers’ that are in your most iconic and monumental post-punk albums for life. There is a sweet bitterness all over in the album, there is veiled hope and something stranger than that; I felt this is the music score of an ongoing dream may be or of a reverie. I felt things in here are so vaguely clear.

Dyer said, “I think there is always a fear as an artist that the work you produce will go unappreciated and forgotten, just as you long to be remembered by lovers and acquaintances, it’s this feeling, bordering on narcissism, that I wanted to write about.”

The Underground Youth wear their influences on their sleeve, steeped in the musical storytelling of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Nick Cave. Off the back of their last album, “Montage Images of Lust & Fear”, The band set off on a 50+ date European tour, their first run of shows around Asia, and were also in the middle of their first USA/Canada tour when Covid-19 hit, sadly cutting it short. With the original plans of heading into the studio upon their return from their US tour grinding to a halt – the tour cancelled midway through and followed by months of isolation in their Berlin apartments. The album is very much a product of the distressing and unfamiliar world we now find ourselves in.

As you understand by now we have a very imposing album with too many explanations running in from every side of life. Thoughts, plans, hopes, curses, and the will to narrate it all through the frontman’s current melancholy-not sadness. Put in one amazing orchestration and there you have the masterpiece I was telling you before. I don’t know if they’ll repeat “The Falling” in the future but this record is going to stay in high rank in their fans’ appraisal, and if you are not familiar with their works, this one is probably the best gateway to The Underground Youth.

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Photo by Joe Dilworth

Written by Loud Cities’ Mike