Younghusband have been intermittently releasing music since 2007, slowly gaining exposure and picking up admirers along the way. Their double single from 2011 Carousel/Nothing, Nothing seemed to hint at something of a breakthrough, gaining regular radio airplay but it has taken another two years for Dromes, their debut album to emerge. It has been worth the wait however, revealing itself to be the very definition of an album that grows on the listener with each listen until the songs begin to feel like they have been in existence for a lot longer than the short time of the run up to tonight’s show (the London date of – surprisingly – their first full headline tour).
The night opens with the lush, lasting synth soundscapes of Moon Gangs before The Proper Ornaments play tracks from their own debut album, Waiting For The Summer. It’s immediately apparent that they’re a notably more forceful proposition live, the giddy, ’60s-tinged guitar pop of the album being transformed into something more penetrating and raucous in these surroundings.
Younghusband open with Comets Crossed and Left Of The Rocks, both establishing the intrepid, driving pace that defines much of tonight’s show. It’s also present in the motorik rhythm that underpins Reunion Message and the supercharged, emphatically executed melodies of Wavelength.
Title track Dromes is promoted to the middle of the set, standing imperious as if surveying the rest of the album from an elevated height while Sunstroke beats a hazy retreat, projecting a sense of understated withdrawal. The only real dip comes with the slightly misfiring, pedestrian Constantly In Love. On record, they’ve already been heavily compared to bands that surfaced in the early ’90s shoegaze scene and it’s a valid point of reference for their live shows also. The sense of wayward detachment that characterised early Ride albums is certainly evident.
By omitting the cyclical hues of career highlight Running Water and the low-key instrumental psychedelia of * from their live set they may sacrificed a little of the nuanced variety found on Dromes. But this was still a show full of promise, marking them out as a band that could develop in a number of interesting directions over forthcoming years.