Ah… the promise of Young Romance.
Their debut single, ‘Pale’ was a teen kitchen sink drama in minature, Shelagh Delaney in under 120 seconds of buzzsaw guitars and box drums. Another’s Blood (Banquet Records) is the sound of hearts hitting the floor, of tears when they land on the pillow. The album sounds older, though no less bruised. Paolo Ruiu’s guitars add a little fire and fury to Claire Heywood’s Home Counties vocals; YR are the Sarah Records band of your conjouring. ‘Disappear’ punches its way past any twee preconceptions, and the post-midnight melancholy of ‘Cracks’ and aching shoegaze textures of ‘Wasted Time’ prove there’s real depth here.
You probably thought you didn’t have any more room in your life for yet another two-headed band. Another’s Blood is here to prove you quite wrong.
We thought it was about time for another instalment of Chapter & Verse, and Claire kindly took the time to pick out three of her favourite books. With one foot in the imaginarium of childhood, and two concerning the complications of life, they serve as good an insight as any into where YR are coming from.
The BFG – Roald Dahl
When I was young I didn’t watch loads of TV, save for Art Attack-era CITV and a few programmes that my parents had recorded on to VHS for my older brother, passed down to me five years later – none of which my friends watched. I spent a lot of time reading – way more than I do now – and this was largely down to one of my all-time heroes, Roald Dahl.
The BFG, although obviously completely accessible to everyone, seemed so magical to me and was one of the first of his books that I read as a child. You could read it with ease and glide through the story, catapulting you into a new world, even if you didn’t need to escape your own. How someone can make the idea of a strange giant man walking the streets at night blowing dreams into your head not a nightmare is incredible, and I would go to bed thinking and wishing that when I was asleep this really happened.
The BFG was the bullied loner do-gooder and Dahl makes him the hero of the story, triumphing over the nasty giants and saving the rest of the children. It’s a powerful message of good actions defeating bad and has one of my favourite quotes of any Dahl book, one that feels more real now as an adult: “Dreams is quick on the outside, but they’re long on the inside.”
I absolutely love nearly everything Dahl has ever written. They retain just as much magic for adults as they do children.
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
My mum has talked about this book for as long as I can remember. I tried to read it when I was younger but dismissed it as being a book for middle aged people, until I picked it up again when I was about 23. I couldn’t put it down and I’ve read it over and over since.
The title is the name of a character who doesn’t even exist in the book; she is dead before it begins, yet she is central to the entire story. It is a story of love and paranoia, wrapped in somewhat of a psychological thriller about a woman who feels painfully inferior to her new husband’s dead wife. The entire household that they live in, including the staff, seem to obsess about ‘Rebecca’. She becomes wildly paranoid that she can never live up to the woman who came before her, and I think this is so relatable for both woman and men, that fear of the unknown. There is a huge twist in this book, but I won’t give any more away!
Angela’s Ashes– Frank McCourt
Although I do love fiction, I also read a lot of autobiographies/memoirs.
One that guts you from the inside is Angela’s Ashes. I think I read this in almost one long sitting. It tells the sad story of McCourt’s Catholic Irish childhood and alcoholic father, dying siblings and the day-to-day turmoil of poverty in Ireland at the time – and trying to come through and escape it.
The characters in the story are alive, and multi-faceted. The father isn’t just the abusive alcoholic, he is somewhat charming and funny. The kids are as loving and caring as much they are absolute terrors. The stories are harrowing and tragic, but punctuated with dark humour and McCourt runs a fine balance between making you laugh and cry throughout. Probably more of the latter! I would certainly recommend reading it, but go in forewarned!
For more information about Young Romance, visit their website. The album, ‘Another’s Blood’ is released on 25th November.