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Gabby Young and Other Animals are a band fronted by the charismatic Young. They have built quite a formidable reputation in London and now on the festival scene over the last few years due to their very unusual approach to promoting themselves. For instance, they finance a lot of their music by offering a number of fan club/sponsorship options which gives those who pay a fee exclusive access to the gigs, merchandise and lots of other perks. They also hold jumble-style vintage fares at some of their gigs.
Young is a very striking presence, which you can tell just from looking at the album cover where she has shocking-red hair bundled with all sorts of Victoriana clutter. A classically trained singer, she is supported by a rag-tag bunch of musicians who play instruments as varied as the mandolin, flute, double bass, trumpet and trombone.
But enough about who they are, what about the music!
Thankfully this album is definitely not a case of style over substance!
It opens with the haunting title track 'We're All In This Together'. It is a mournful stripped back ballad which shows Young's unconventional swooping and soaring vocals to their absolute best. When I think of the album, it is this song that I think of. It has a melody and a sentiment which stays with you long after listening to it.
The rest of the album is rather a mix of tempos which showcase a number of different instruments and genres; from the soft folk of 'Too Young To Die' to the Gogol Bordello style 'gypsy punk' of 'Ask You A Question.'
It could also be argued that in places it is a bit barking mad. The track that best illustrates this would probably "Whose House" which goes from oompah-oompah style to a vintage-style acapella. Another favourite of mine is the 'Ones That Got Away' which could almost have been played out of a flapper's gramophone.
What impresses me the most about this album is just how accomplished it is. It is really well produced and despite the frequent changes in tempo and genre it is highly accessible and easy to listen to.
Young has a rich and highly versatile voice which manages the the slower softer songs as well as the frankly barmy higher notes and tunes of other songs on the album. It has quickly become one of the most played albums in my house and I often put it on when we have people over for the evening and dinner and I always get asked who it is.
It is quite possibly one of the most evocative albums that I have ever heard. When you listen to it you get a real feel of a carnival, circus, burlesque, music hall atmosphere - it positively invites you in.
Despite dipping and diving out of all of these different genres, it always feels right and works and most thankfully it is never derivative.
There is also a real sense of playfulness and humour which is really refreshing in a artform which takes itself far too seriously for much of the time; "I'm not an emo child....." Young opines at one stage!
It is really rich and atmospheric and actually really highly credible. The whole flamboyant vintage musical image is something which has had quite a lot of attention recently when you think about the likes of Paloma Faith. Here are a band that have just as much style but are so much less contrived. There is a real love of music and real passion that comes through here.
This is definitely music for music lovers with real style and panache from a very exciting, emerging band who have truly embraced the fun that you can have both listening and watching it. As you can gather, I absolutely loved this album. It really stands up to repeat viewings and I am genuinely interested to hear what this genuinely talented group are going to come up with next!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Ladies Of The Lake
4 One That Got Away
5 We're All In This Together
7 Whose House
9 Ask You A Question
12 Too Young To Die
13 Two By Two