Things have been getting exciting for Young Romance, aka Claire and Paolo. Last year they self-released their first EP Pale which has been gathering quite a good amount of critical acclaim and airplay, they recently played at the Great Escape festival in Brighton, and they are soon flying across the Pacific for the New York Pop Fest. In between all this, last night they played their first headline show at the obscure basement of the Three Crowns Pub in Stoke Newington, aka The Waiting Room.
Musically they have cited a wide range of influences, which sheered through their music – imagine Kate Bush’s powerful voice and sentiment, coupled with Buzzcock’s energy – and you’ll be pretty close to how they sound. Before you get any ideas about the young duo, their name comes from a 1915 American silent film called Young Romance, and it perfectly fits what they are doing. In the core of their work is Claire’s nightingale voice singing eloquent lyrics about nostalgia, regret and broken relationships; but they layer these onto a background of jangly guitars and pounding drums provided by Claire herself. The result is ballads that don’t aim at breaking your heart and making you weep – these are sweet and poppy songs that never get too syrupy or clichéd.
While Young Romance do not present anything ultra-original, they do something that is usually overlooked by indie bands and is usually the domain of the solo acts – put focus on the vocals. Indeed, Claire’s strong vocal work coupled with the duo’s bittersweet romantics reminded me of Lana Del Rey, if only she was in a band and was on strong antidepressants. So give them a listen if you are a romantic at heart but crave your amps over slow ballads, or have recently had your heart broken and would rather dance it off then cry in the corner, but can’t be asked to listen to another Taylor Swift song.