Feelin’ American by James Younger (Album)
Lovers of the post-punk revival take note: regardless of what nationality you’re feelin’, this’ll give you a new wave of joy
here’s a Birmingham in Alabama, a Plymouth in Florida and a Manchester in California. In fact, there are hundreds of US towns and cities named after places in the UK, as a result of English settlers and explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries. History repeats itself, and so it follows that James Younger of Manchester, England made a similar pilgrimage in the 21st century – aged 21 he headed across the Atlantic, hitchhiked across North America, penning the root-material of this aptly-titled debut album.
The resulting collection of ten songs is, rather unsurprisingly, very American – think the post-punk revival of The Strokes, with a generous dose of classic Tom Petty. There’s also more than a close resemblance to Canadian indie-pop rockers Hot Hot Heat, but then again their singer Steve Bays produced this album, so that’s to be expected.
But as Feelin’ American gets going, there’s an overwhelming feeling that we’ve really heard this before – the third track, Running Wild, owes a great deal to The Who’s I Can’t Explain and the fourth, Two Of A Kind, starts faintly Springsteen-esque, but the chorus drives dangerously close to becoming a cover of Steve Harley’s Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me).
However, despite the derivative nature and obvious comparisons, this LP is a hugely enjoyable musical companion. The Razorlight-lite of Sleeping Alone and disco-pop of Here & Gone bounce along with panache and, by the time the latter’s uplifting chorus kicks off the LP’s second half, it’s difficult not to be swept along in the wave of ’80s optimism. It’s a great driving record, too – you can imagine Feelin’… soundtracking the desert highway scenes of Younger’s American roadtrip.
In a world where The Strokes are frequently accused of trying too hard to be cool, it’s refreshing that Feelin American isn’t trying to be clever – its naivety is its charm. It’s simply James Younger wearing his heart, along with his influences, on his sleeve.
Verdict: A young Manchester lad with sound pop sensibilities pays homage to the United States