Richard Youngs’ 146th album has a central conceit – starting at E minor, each song moves up a notch on the fret board – that is soon forgotten as the songs take hold. This is remarkable stuff; tense and abrasive, sure, but there’s real beauty – and poetry – here. Youngs operates in a space that’s equal parts folk, prog and outsider artist, but somehow the artists he most recalls here are John Cale and Arthur Russell.
Minimal and sparse, the voices (Youngs’ and occasional guests) are mostly accompanied by just guitars but unsettling violins and plangent steel also contribute. Some songs are brief but intriguing sketches, while the stunning Strangest Day On Earth is seven minutes of hypnotic, unsettling repetition. Now for the other 145.