Elliot Robinson reviews the second album by the 8-piece band, Gabby Young and Other Animals, called ‘The Band Called Out for More’.
Gabby Young and Other Animals may be a name unfamiliar to you, but they have actually been around for a few years now. They are an eight-piece band, headed up by lead singer and song writer Gabby Young who hails from Wiltshire. Having crowd-funded their first album, which was released to much acclaim, Gabby Young and Other Animals bring us their second, 13-track album, The Band Called Out For More. Young wrote this album along with her partner, Stephen Ellis, who also produces it.
Their sound has been described as ‘circus swing’ by Clive Anderson, the presenter of radio show Loose Ends, which with their sound kind of falling between two musical stools, is probably quite an accurate description, if a little quirky. They seem to have fully embraced this, however, with the music video for lead single, ‘In Your Head’ (embedded below), which is a retro animated affair in the vein of Monty Python, all set in a circus.
Before forming Gabby Young and Other Animals in 2008, Young was on track to become an opera singer, having been the youngest ever member of the National Youth Choir. You can certainly pick up the influence of this musical route to where she is today with her vocal delivery, which has the warbley inflections of opera without being overpowered. Another prominent modern-day warbler is Florence Welch; however, where Welch often swallows her words, Young’s clearer diction means you can actually understand the lyrics with greater ease.
The run of opening tracks to The Band Called Out for More, which includes ‘In Your Head’, are a great gateway into the album’s sound, grabbing your attention straight away with their catchy melodies and toe-tapping rhythms, all wrapped up in a swinging, jazzy production. Indeed, the flow of the album is rather seamless, and Young has created a cohesive body of work here, very much ploughing her own furrow with the circus swing vibe.
Beyond the brilliance of the early tracks, other stand-outs are ‘Horatio’, with its whispering intro belying the split-personality of the main body of the song, one minute sounding like a Mariachi band with its trumpet-led melody, the next changing tack entirely to take a playful piano turn. The delightfully chipper feel of penultimate track, ‘Curtain Call’, with its carefree whistling is a great lead into the final track ‘The Band Called Out for More’, which closes the album on a high with its rousing pace leading up to a satisfying crescendo.
Some of the latter tracks, such as ‘Segment’, veer slightly into dreary territory, lacking the punchy, jauntiness of much of the rest of the album; however, this doesn’t detract significantly from the overall high calibre of the album.
Go Get It: ’In Your Head’ / ‘Goldfish Bowl’
Forget It: ’Segment’