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New Music: Young Fathers

November 4, 2014

Music | by Sophia Miles


At the age of fourteen, most people’s fantasy of their own destiny is limited, beaten down by the harsh realities of GCSE preparation and acne. However, for three musical young men in Edinburgh, the reality of theirs was far more than most their age could ever imagine. They might have worried about school, or dreamt of the perfect girl, but they also had goals of making an impact on British music, and they look set to do just that.

Meeting at an under 18’s hip hop night, Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham ‘G’ Hastings and Kayus Bankole bonded over their love of music on the dance floor, and went on to form Young Fathers.

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Young Fathers is a collection of unique voices and fresh ideas, who after selling less than 2500 copies of their latest release, did the unthinkable. Sailing past fierce competition such as former Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and rising star FKA Twigs, their recent record ‘Dead‘ picked up the coveted Barclaycard Mercury Prize.

Some have stated that winning the prize is a bad omen, with Gorillaz even asking to be withdrawn from nominations in 2001. Their fictional bass player Murdoc Niccals was quoted as saying “[It is] sorta like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity. No thanks, man! Why don’t you nominate some other poor muppet!”, but for many, it is still the mark of an exemplary rising artist.

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Already recipients of the 2014 Scottish Album Of The Year Award for their previous album ‘Tape Two‘ and having shown serious development and maturing since the acclaimed ‘Tape One‘, Young Fathers don’t appear to be complacent types. In fact, it becomes very evident when listening through their back catalogue, that they thrive on pushing both themselves and their audience towards new sounds and lyrical experiences. Since their recent win, record sales have risen, with ‘Dead‘ reaching number thirty five on the UK Album Chart; and it seems set to continue to climb, as more discover their collage board of styles and genres, and open up to a new view of music.

While some music fans may have overlooked Young Fathers at first, it seems more and more are delving further into a varied jukebox, instead of relying on the old favourites, which can only be a good thing. Music on the whole survives because it is ever changing, and though some can be cautious or even resistant to the metamorphosis, the success of Young Fathers looks to be guiding people towards new pastures, giving other aspiring young artists a larger platform too.

We can look forward to the group further experimenting, as they have announced they are working on new material – hopefully they will escape the curse of the Mercury Prize and advance up the ranks to greater things.

 

Ashli Hollister