LIVE REVIEW: Young Peculiar, The Hop (Sheffield), 15.08.2012

Sheffield five-piece Young Peculiar have a lot to celebrate. Having formed at the start of 2011, the quintet have successfully built a local loyal following, who have turned up to their debut EP launch gig with a feverish anticipation. The atmosphere is one of excited support, a feeling that clearly rubs off on the more than competent musicians as they take to the stage. Fronted by the ever self-deprecating, but instantly lovable Bernadette Dales, the troupe launch into the rousing “One”, which is met with whoops and warmth.

Dales is on supreme form. Her rich folk-driven vocal soars through the playful and introspective. With the set veering towards the upbeat, her cohorts Michael Hukins, Chris Boswell, Laura Yie and Martin Bullock are also given plenty of time to shine by the far from selfish vocalist.

A spine-tingling rendition of the sublime “Way With Words” demonstrates Dales vocal prowess, while the tease of “Chemical Comedienne” sees Young Peculiar romp up a stomp. As ever the troupe throw in a handful on colourful covers, opting for a sultry “Maneater” and truly triumphant “Thong Song”.

Young Peculiar are easily one of Sheffield’s finest upcoming acts. The powerful vocal presence of Dales is enticing enough, but when supported by some of the finest musicians in town, they troupe are an unforgettable force.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

The Kaje talks realisation to Young Peculiar

Sheffield’s Young Peculiar have been busy building their reputation on the local circuit since January 2011, and their dedicated approach has seen them rewarded with a growing fanbase and raised profile. However, after nearly a year and a half of test-roading material,Young Peculiar are finally ready to reward their loyal following with their eponymous debut EP and here at The Kaje we can confirm that beats all expectations out of the basket. Sheer musical gold, Young Peculiar prove that they are more than an exciting live prospect, as on record they an edgy pop project that demands attention from radio stations up and down the country. With the band launching the EP at The Hop, Sheffield on Wednesday the 15th, we caught up with vocalist Bernadette Dales to find out more…m

You must be pretty excited for the launch of your debut EP-can you tell us a little more about the journey to release…

We are very excited – it’s been a long time coming, seeing as Young Peculiar first came into existence in January 2011! But we’ve had line-up changes and a transition from being an acoustic band to an electric band so the timing was never quite right until now. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait!

The EP contains four tracks-how did you select these songs?

We picked them because we felt they best summed up the first chapter of YP’s life. They are some of the first songs we wrote together, and the ones that our fans sing along to when they come to our gigs! In a way it feels like we needed to get these songs out there in the open before we could move on to the next ‘phase’ and write more tunes.

Can you tell us a little more about each one…

Hmmm… well from a musical perspective we tried to explore as many musical styles as we could during the composing process. Variety has always been a major part of our group’s sound. “Way With Words” was the first song Mike and I ever wrote, and is particularly special and personal to me; without going into too much detail, I wrote it about surviving physical and emotional abuse. My theory was that if I wrote a song about it I could take the shitty experiences and turn them into something positive that would make me a stronger person. I like to think it worked!

“Red and Gold” and “Chemical Comedienne” are more upbeat, thankfully. “Red and Gold” is about that relief you feel around three months after ending a relationship and realising how terrible you felt the entire time you were with that person!

The first three tracks were recorded and engineered by Mark Mynett (Mynetaur Productions) but the bonus track “PGRS” was recorded by Young Peculiar’s very own Mike Hukins as part of his undergraduate portfolio. Mike has a really original style when it comes to production, and it was great to be able to play around with our sounds in the studio and see what we could come up with!

If you had to pick one song as an introduction to the EP, which would you suggest and why?

I think I’d probably pick “Chemical Comedienne”: it’s loud, upbeat, danceable… it shows off my bandmates’ awesome instrumental abilities through their solos and the vocals are still gritty and personal.

You are well known for your quirky covers-were you tempted to include one?

We do love doing covers… we knew we couldn’t put any on our EP though to be honest. We didn’t know what the rules were for recording someone else’s music and making money from it so we decided to just stay out of that legal minefield! In the near future we will be recording our covers and allowing people to download them for free from out bandcamp page – it’s next on our to do list!

What, in your eyes, makes a good cover?

In my opinion, it takes a delicate balance of making the cover as original as possible, without losing the passion and musicality behind the original version of the track. My pet hate is watching acoustic artists strip a brilliant song down to its bare bones and making it dreary and lifeless…

If you could pick any act to cover Young Peculiar-who would it be and why?

Somebody entirely unlike us… like a death metal or reggae band or something!

With the EP ready to go, what is next for Young Peculiar?

More songwriting! And hopefully traveling the country a bit more – we’d love to get some gigs in different cities and support some great touring bands.

Young Peculiar play The Hop, Sheffield on August 15th.

Interview and Photographs by Jeremy Williams

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