Richard Youngs, Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits (Jagjaguwar)

Richard YoungsBeyond the Valley of Ultrahits might just be the most improbably great pop album I’ve heard both this year and last. Funnily enough, it’s not exactly a new release, having been issued on CD-R last year in a tiny edition by Sonic Oyster. But Bloomington, Indiana indie Jagjaguwar has just reissued Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits in a gorgeously remastered vinyl edition. Youngs, a stalwart of Glasgow, Scotland’s experimental music scene (and an Other Side of Life favorite), was dared by friend and collaborator Andrew Paine to make a “proper pop album,” and the result is quite striking. Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits features Youngs’ striking multi-tracked singing (an occasional feature of his experimental albums) set to propulsive, electronic-based songs reminiscent of Brian Eno’s 1970s rock albums Here Come the Warm Jets and Another Green World mixed with a 1980s pop aesthetic akin to classic Pet Shop Boys or New Order. While not dance-oriented as those latter reference points, songs such as “Like a Sailor” and “Love in the Great Outdoors” certainly succeed at inserting a gorgeous beauty within the three-minute pop song format.

Listen to “Love in the Great Outdoors” from Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits here.

Buy it from Jagjaguwar here.

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