Young Magic Breathing Statues


There’s an indefinable duality to Breathing Statues. If you sit with the album on repeat, you’ll find yourself neither bored nor particularly engaged. Even if you don’t care about or for Young Magic, there’s something compelling about them. But what might draw you to them is the sensation of being neither quite awake nor asleep in a constant state of melancholic lethargy.

Perhaps the most damning criticism that could be levelled against this Breathing Statues release is that it simply doesn’t feel like it wants to be actively listened to. It’s repetitious and unmemorable by design, almost as a challenge to the listener to recall the tender, ethereal sounds you have just experienced. You hear hypnotic, airy Cat Power-esque vocals atop something that sounds like a bass. Yes, there are certainly songs, structures, patterns and coherent ideas. All of it, a wispy nothing.

Yet it’s densely-layered and sonically rich. It’s interested in creating moods and atmosphere. It thrives within its conceptual framework of synth driven minimalism and sampling. And as an album, it works because of its design. Or perhaps it’s inoffensive enough that listeners simply won’t be bothered to hate it.

Breathing Statues comes with an uneasy, tentative recommendation. This is not necessarily because it is a “good” album or because most people will enjoy it. Good, however is subjective. Is it the album for you? I can’t say for certain — but maybe.

By Aaron J. Marko

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