Young and Sexy The Arc

Young and Sexy The Arc
Four albums and ten years in, Young and Sexy continue to refine their subtle yet unmistakable talents. The Arc, like 2006’s Panic When You Find It, is a tactful distillation of numerous great ideas from the last several decades. Beach Boys-style harmonies, sunshine pop production, languid slide guitar and noir-style twang are blended beautifully and drenched in reverb. The band look back in time for musical cues without resorting to kitschy throwbacks, and do just fine without them. Lead singer Lucy Brain’s voice is perfectly suited to the music. She sings with purpose, carrying her tunes steadily without forcing them. Occasionally, Young and Sexy slip into rather played out, "twinkling guitar”-style indie rock, à la Joan of Arc — no cause for complaint where most records are concerned but disappointing given Young and Sexy’s abilities. A few dull moments are forgiven and forgotten, however, as soon as the pretty harmonies and striking effects slip back into the mix. The Arc is understated but a careful listen reveals a band with a refreshing, layered approach to pop, one well-versed in the classics but adjusted to their own time.

So, you and Lucy were dating and you started playing music together after she dumped you...
I had written a song, kind of a cheesy "I want you back” sort of song. I got her to do a four-track recording of it and she sounded great. That was in ’94, I think. I had always heard her singing in the shower and stuff.

Was that a ploy to win her back?
Sort of, yeah. There were a bunch of ploys [laughs].

But you’ve had great musical chemistry.
I have a bad habit of copping people. Like, I’ll write a song like Morrissey or something and then I’ll think, "well, if Lucy sings it, it won’t sound like Morrissey.” Probably more four or five years ago, where I was always trying to write a good George Harrison sort of song. If I were to try to sing it, it would probably end up sounding like a bad George Harrison song. If Lucy sang it, it would just sound like a pretty song.

Your records have been critically acclaimed but you’ve never been a "buzz band,” per se. Are you comfortable with how your work is generally received?
We’d love to be touring, making five grand a show and making a living out of it. I don’t really know what to do to change that. It’s a little frustrating at this point, to be honest. Not that we were expecting it [but] I feel I could be writing a lot more songs if I wasn’t working at city hall every day. (Mint)