As a young boy my exposure to music was limited to Oldies. I fell in love with groups like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. My father was especially fond of James Taylor so, naturally, I enjoyed his music as well. Growing older I became rebellious and searched out newer music sources, shunning my early loves and growing my hair to a painful-looking shoulder-length. Looking back at pictures of me with the less-slick Stephen Segal pony-tail make me cringe. But I guess we all go through such phases. I eventually came around to revert back to some of those early influences on my music palette. So why all this discussion of the music of old? How can that be relevant to a Canadian band called Young & Sexy (MySpace)? For starters the group’s third release, Panic When You Find It, does not sound like it was first released upon the world in 2006.
With heavy influences in 70’s pop, Young & Sexy would sit nicely in a collection of old Zombies and Mammas & Pappas records. Paul Hixon’s deep, rich vocals carry the album while his vocal female cohort Lucy Brain woos listeners with her delightfully sexy sounds. Harmony vocals in songs like “5/4” and “Conventional Lullabies” (the latter has what I have a habit of calling delicious hand claps) draw listeners into one of the many reasons Panic When You Find It remains near the top of my Best Releases of 2006.
“The Curious Organ” is so like the Zombies that it’s difficult to comprehend it’s recent inception into existence. “Your Enemy’s Asleep” has a similar vibe. While the top tracks on the album are the quicker-paced ones, the slower tunes are not beyond a worthy mention. “Turn On Your Weakness” is a rehash of lyrics from “The Curious Organ” while “Without Your Love” conquers all as a powerful ballad with Brain on lead vocals. Many songs, such as “Trespass on a Thought,” have a jazzy shuffle apparent only in the percussion. “Satellite” even has a country twang to it.
Despite their near three-decade old sound, the group maintains more modern production in a delightful and nostalgic sense. It is good to hear groups use slide guitars, tambourines, and deep harmony vocals. It is good to hear musicianship of a higher caliber. It is good to hear quality and originality amidst such obvious influences. And above all, it is good to hear songs that have been developed at a level far above the mediocrity that is so rampant these days.
This review was originally published July 24, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.
Mint [CD, 2006]
1. Your Enemy’s Asleep
2. The Curious Organ
3. Without Your Love
4. All The Little Girls & Boys
6. Night Wears A Sombrero
7. Conventional Lullabies
8. Turn On Your Weakness
9. Trespass On A Thought