Young Man - Boy

by Louise Harlow Rating:8.5 Release Date:2010-10-12

From the moment the Polynesian sway of EP opener 'Five' wafts out the speakers to the dying strains of woozy lullaby 'Up So Fast', it is clear that the elusive Young Man of Illinois is a man with a persistent preschool preoccupation. The name's no wrongfoot - you can smell the calpol and talc a mile off.

There is a nigh invisible line that lies between the nostalgic and the saccharine, over which Boy hovers with intent. Listening to the mechanical music box jangle that permeates 'Playtime', you can almost see the pop-up jewellery box ballerina doing her jerky demented pirouette ad infinitum. Yet Caulfield manages to spare the track from demented clockwork tedium with the spinning of a cobweb of undulating guitars and distant brass calls, and when the vocal line comes into focus at 4 minutes plus you're almost too darned woozed out to notice. Similarly, take your eye off the ball during the rippling reverb of 'Five' and before you can say "hot dang" you've slid into the rumbling percussion and chromatic wanderings of 'Hands'. It's all a bit like tripping down the rabbit hole, minus bratty blondes and hookah-toking lavas...

Clever multi-tracking of Caulfield's voice permeates this record; the vocals of 'Hands' rain down from what feels like a hundred feet above, and for a moment it's as if Mama Cass had never choked on that sandwich. Featherlight synths also whisper across several tracks, fleshing out Caulfield's sonic beach and illuminating no nonsense guitar lines. Late highlight 'Just a Growin' shares the straightforward pop earnestness of The Shins, and shows a promising indication of where Caulfield could take his horizontal musical haze, once he can stay up past eight on a school night.

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