Boomkat Product Review:
YOUTH present the debut album by Leo, a member of the Manteq collective who here deploys a bruised and anxious batch of panel-beaten drill drums and synth gloom somewhere between Forest Swords, Rat Heart and FUMU.
Leading on from their ‘Roshd’ collaboration with Tardast on the ‘Youth 2’ comp, and an EP for Shotta Tapes; Leo yields the most expansive definition of their style with ‘A Buried River’, channelling a mix of rugged crud cut with grime licks tempered by more brooding emotive content that speaks to their various limbs and digits in power electronics, industrial, and reconstituted club styles. Their sound is arguably symptomatic of the North West’s claggy atmospheres as much as its emboldened experimental dance scene, emerging alongside Leo's DJ collective comrades - AYA, Iceboy Violet, BFTT, MichaelBrailey - with a style that rudely bends conventions into wickedly cranky new forms.
Indicated by the track titles and bleeding from the music, ‘A Buried River’ prizes a sort of northern gothic romance that ideally lends itself to closed curtain daytime listening as much as nocturnal revelling. Their drums bite in grimy permutations of rictus 2-step, broken beats and bummed out trip hop, feeding between passages of bittered noise and synth pads that lend the album’s narrative cadence between the convulsive opener ‘death is clearly not what it used to be’ and its unmissable Coil-meets-Forest Swords shutdown ‘water features.’ Mutant drill and minor key grime motifs prang out in ‘efforts dashed’ and Leo’s taste for harsh textures is exemplified on ‘latex skies’, with ‘to fade’ catching a fine take on Clams Casino instrumentals, and the growling swag of ‘numberless mile territory’ and ‘soil’ dial in Pessimist-like illbient rufige.