Album Review: The Young’uns – Strangers

It’s been quite a ride so far for North Eastern trio The Young’uns. Twice BBC Radio Folk Award winners for Best Group, a feat quite remarkable for what is primarily an a capella act – and now four albums in, these guys have built a reputation on incredible vocal arrangements, solid storytelling and bags of character in their performances, and rightly sit at the top table in the genre at this current time.

The new record, Strangers – enhances that reputation. Made up of mostly original tracks from singer and principle songwriter Sean Cooney, the album deals with numerous topics relevant to now including refugee crises and the unflinching human spirit in assisting them, terrorist attacks, racial inequality and migrants risking life and limb.

All very deep, emotionally charge topics, but what is monumentally clever here, is the way these songs are performed immediately sound like they were written a century or more ago – they all sound like they could be traditionally arranged – with the story steadfast at the core, and mainly vocal only performance, there is definitely an air of positivity in much of the record.

Even on the absolute stand-out track – the quite incredible ‘Be The Man‘, which tells of the heart wrenching story of a man who’s partner commits suicide due to his families non acceptance of his sexuality – the uplifting nature of the characters determination to succeed in his name is bordering on awe-inspiring. This track is one of only a couple that feature instrumental accompaniment, piano, subtle guitar and cello (played by Rachel McShane of Bellowhead fame) differentiates it at a nice point in the recording.

Listen to this record – from start to finish it is class and in Cooney they have one of the finest lyricists going. By some distance this is their most accomplished work so far I think, and I’d go as far as suggesting an album of the year contender.

The Young’uns Strangers album tour – October 2017

4  LANCASTER Dukes Theatre

 SHEFFIELD City Hall (Memorial Hall)

6  GLASGOW Oran Mor

7  SHREWSBURY Theatre Severn

8  OXFORD The North Wall Arts Centre

9  COLCHESTER Arts Centre

10 BURY ST EDMUNDS Apex

11 BRISTOL Colston Hall Lantern

12 LONDON Union Chapel

13 SHOREHAM-BY-SEA Ropetackle Arts Centre

14 LINCOLN Drill Hall

15 NOTTINGHAM Glee Club

17 BRECON Theatr Brechyneiog

18 SOUTHPORT Atkinson

19 LEEDS City Varieties

20 MANCHESTER Home – Folk Festival

21 BIRMINGHAM Mac

22 CANTERBURY Cathedral Lodge

24 DUBLIN The Sugar Club

27 GATESHEAD Sage 1

Visit The Young’uns website HERE
Pre-order at Amazon HERE
Pre-order at Proper Music HERE
Pre-order at iTunes HERE

Review by Phil Daniels