Gabby Young: The Band Called Out For More Review

And the fans called out for more.

At least that’s how I imagine most Gabby Young followers feel when her debut album We’re All In This Together finishes.

It’s most definitely how every audience I’ve ever been a part of has felt at the end of one of her concerts with all those wonderful Animal friends of hers.

And it’s fair to say I felt the same; having witnessed a couple of this creative collective’s live shows since then and been blown away both times by the group’s musical theatricality and sheer energy.

So you’ll understand why I was so looking forward to Gabby Young And Other Animals’ second album, The Band Called Out For More.

The Band Called Out For More starts off promisingly, with first single In Your Head providing a perfect slice of Gabby’s unique musical charm.

Sounding like some sort of circus swing after party, Gabby proceeds to sing about the paranoia of her song’s presumably male protagonist. I’m not sure why I’ve attached a y chromosome to the creature of self-doubt here, but it’s probably because I associate this particular emotion as typical of the unfairer sex.

The next few tracks also hit their marks, with the sing along chorus of Goldfish Bowl followed up by the seemingly Regina Spector influenced third track, Walk Away.

Male Version Of Me is exactly as it sounds; an ode to her life and musical writing partner Steven Ellis with Gabby’s clever lyrics wrapped around simple yet pretty acoustic guitar and piano.

But the lyrically cumbersome Open, preaching about the virtues of being just that with the world, throws me out of Gabby Young’s house on my ear.

Songs that lecture listeners about how they should live their lives rarely work, however earnest these sentiments may be, as people generally don’t like being told how they should or shouldn’t be.

And by people, I mean me.

The unexpectedly heavy handed sentiments here surprised me, as Young is usually so adept at writing clever lyrics.

The next track also doesn’t quite work either, with Gabby singing about her Clay Heart but neither the music nor the classically trained opera singer’s lament really convince.

It takes the long awaited cinematic cowboy tale of Horatio, introduced to us on Gabby’s first record, to marshal The Band Called Out For More out of some dangerous second album territory.

After this, the Young singer songwriter and her Animal collective pick up the pace again, finishing on a high with some of their now trademark eclectic tracks such as the horn tinged Curtain Call and rousing gypsy folk of title track The Band Called Out For More.

My expectations for this record were probably unfairly high, so if I sound a little underwhelmed by Gabby Young’s second album it’s only because I have an insatiable appetite for great music.

Even the great, late Jeff Buckley found it difficult to follow up his Grace, so much so that he never really managed it.

And I’m sure Gabby wouldn’t mind being held in such exalted company.

It’s pretty human for that difficult second album to represent such an obstacle when a musician’s debut has been universally received to such acclaim.

That first creative piece is usually the result of everything someone has lived up until that point too, so it’s not realistic to expect the same depth of experience only a couple of years down the line.

The Band Called Out For More is a good record, with some great individual tracks that showcase Gabby Young’s unique musical talent; it just doesn’t leave me calling out for more as much as her debut effort managed.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

June 2012