Young Man – Vol. 1

Albums / Words

25 May 12

As Directions points out both lyrically and in narrative terms (album’s outro), Vol.1 is an album of youthful ponder; woe or wretchedness, it treats complacency with disdain, re-releasing constant gripes, each track loaded with the same intensely as picking up a loaded gun.

There’s a lot to take in with a record that knowingly over-exposes itself to musical elements through the introduction of a five piece band. Tracks collide together with effortlessness both obtuse and melty.

Cualfield’s full band accompaniment makes theatrics of his woe.

Similar stuff could be said of the dynamics behind Vol.1, as song structures and melodies, listless and archaic in their musicality, both aid in a harrowingly authentic experience and remind us this is an album for the music fanatic.

Despite the often huge sound, the band, at times: Thoughts, Do, are near-on vacant against cherished confessions; lyrics which shatter veils of honeyed musicality.

There is pivotal tension lashed atop this record like the breaking of a teardrop, transcending emotions particular to definition, as always damning, occasionally surrealist composition agitates for a response.

Hyped up drums, entrancing jazz-led keys and jolty, anarchic synthetics hold our hand against Caulfield’s.

Young Man’s Vol.1 is caught up in a daze of being; almost adult, always human.

Vol I is the second installment in Colin Caulfield’s Young Man project, a triptych of albums charting the well-worn “Coming of Age” process, which began in 2001 with Ideas of Distance, an homage to the teenage years.

Vol I, meanwhile, is an exploration on that hazily defined transition territory of the mid to late 20s – post-adolescence, pre-adulthood – and, mirroring his thematic, Caulfield’s sound has evolved, with him making the move from lone, dorm-room songwriter to part of a quintet.

The result is lush 60’s –inspired psychedelic pop, interspersed with dense, instrumental breakdowns and seamless transitions between tracks, making one long, meandering rumination on “just what life is”.

While the subject matter may be far from groundbreaking, what makes Vol I such a dreamy joy to listen to is the accuracy with which Caulfield recreates the languid, introspective inertia of the post-grad years.

Aside from insightful lyricism – “What can I do? / Other than feeling, feeling, feeling / I’m ready to go” – the arrangement is such that the listener feels acutely the stop/start of a transitive state, the constant being on-the-verge-of-something. For example, “Fate” rushes along neatly, full of poppy hooks and dreamily lilting guitars, but just as the band builds to a crescendo the track instead lapses into a feedback-heavy fade out. Similarly, the joyous “Do do do” conclusion of “Do” is delayed by a prolonged bridge of sporadically tinkling piano and Caulfield’s soft crooning that we must take “Take the time to do just what we want to do.”

Yet, coupled with a feeling of something about to begin is the looming presence of ending and the listener is jolted from their indulgent reverie as “Directions” fades for, as Caulfield says of the inevitable end of the Young Man project, it is time “to move on to something else.’ If Vol I is a transition album, I’m eager to see what Caulfield’s final destination will be.


Out of the cavernous dark dwellings of his room Colin Caulfield has emerged, with band and all to create Young Man Vol 1. A prog pop record that glides and twists and turns along the musical path; but an album I never really joined for the stroll.

There are many good things to be said about this album. The lyrical content is interesting and engaging at times, the music can be equally so, with its shifting patterns and sounds, it’s flowing guitar lines (whether acoustic or electric), its haunting piano or its rolling beats which all create a real depth in sound.

Like on the track ’21’, which has all these qualities. As the snare thuds speedily over a gentle guitar/piano blend and vocals similarly as gentle harp forth, before driving chords crash in and Caulfield’s harping becomes forlorn bleating as he precedes over the controlled chaos of the music . In stark contrast is arguably the most unadulterated track on the record ‘Wasted’, it’s Caulfield with at his simplest, with guitar and his voice. The concluding phase of the song also leaves you wanting to listen again. But as a band Young Man come together on the The Belle and Sebastian sounding ‘Directions’.

Unfortunately I just never seemed to connect with this album. Though I quite liked the general sound, it just never seemed to stir up any real emotive response in me. I guess it’s like an omelette. However it is dressed up; whatever ingredients are added, in the end it’s still an omelette and does that particularly excite me? Not really. Would I rather eat something other than an omelette, at most times I would tell you yes. This is no slight on the omelette however. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I am just not really an omelette kind of bloke. Maybe it just isn’t particularly to my taste? I know there are many people who really enjoy an omelette, and those fans will be satisfied, their bellies filled, but I’m just not sure I really fancy an omelette today thanks.