Richard Youngs’ Beyond 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.