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Young People 

All at Once

Wednesday, May 31 2006
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It's interesting, yet not all that surprising, to learn that when not working with the bicoastal, avant-garde duo Young People, singer Katie Eastburn is a dancer and choreographer. The band's brooding third album bears aesthetics similar to a modern dance performance. Its minimalist piano, percussion, bass, and very sporadic guitar parts are like well-defined bodies maintaining spatial separation as they snake around a vast, empty stage. The instruments retain their individuality even when locking together; the drumming is often primal and intermittent, like the sound of feet landing on the floor. The compositions steer clear of traditional structure, making for two- and three-minute songs that are both beautiful and a little bit baffling. With a voice that's glottal and grief-stricken (in a numb rather than histrionic way), Eastburn's delivery compares to the quieter, more desperate moments of Cat Power, Mary Timony, or Polly Jean Harvey. On such grimly titled tracks as "Your Grave," "Heads Will Roll," and "Dark Rainbow," it makes this dance even more macabre.

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Michael Alan Goldberg

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