The Poems Young America

In elementary school, whenever the teacher uttered the words "group work,” my stomach would sink like a stone. Glasgow’s the Poems probably felt differently; their band’s existence is an exercise in functional group work. Made up of members of the Bluebells, Love and Money and the High Fidelity, the Poems also collaborated with a dozen guest musicians, including Isobel Campbell, formerly of Belle & Sebastian. The Poems use synths without sounding cheesy and incorporate orchestration without sounding overblown. The vocals are clear and intimate, and the end result can be compared to a slightly more bombastic Camera Obscura. "See The Sunrise” captures the wide-eyed wonder of first love in its lyrics and has a pretty tune. In fact, all of the songs have pretty tunes. But therein lies the problem with this record: it’s just pretty. Listening to Young America is like going on a date with a staggeringly beautiful human and realising that you have nothing to talk about and the pleasure only lasts for so long. Aside from the closing track — a lounge-y stunner called "Lost And Found” — there is nothing especially interesting here. One would rightfully expect a lot more from this body of songs, considering the extraordinarily talented people behind them. Young America may not be greater than the sum of its parts but at least it is evidence that half-decent things can come out of group work.

(Minty Fresh, www.mintyfresh.com) (Minty Fresh)