Hains & Young




Music doesn’t come much darker than this. It’s like being drawn deeper and deeper into a black forest, until the sky is completely blotted out and even the birds seem malevolent. The compositions were jointly penned by Brendan Hains (guitar, mellotron) and Christopher Young (reeds), and the music is mostly performed by these two, with input from several guests. The production magnifies the sounds to monstrous dimensions, and when this is combined with the almost oppressive gloom, fainter hearts may wilt or beat a little faster.

Those who rather enjoy the sensation of being unnerved, however, will be enthralled, not just by Hains and Young’s ability to make an electric guitar or a clarinet into a harbinger of doom, but by the sheer originality of the sound worlds they create. Hallmarks are the careful layering, the high-calibre improvising, and what one might call the ghost-train or Ikea effect: a claustrophobic sense of there being no way out once you’ve been sucked in. Except that here there is no cause for panic: you can just go along for the ride, and encounter some almost spectacularly beautiful music, even if episodes of it might make you sweat in the night.