Youth Sector at Live at Leeds - Festival Review - Music News


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Youth Sector at Live at Leeds – Festival Review

Youth Sector
Photo Credit: Jacob Flannery
Words: | June 5, 2023
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Youth Sector

Described by Clash as ‘a buzzy brand of alt-pop that charms at every turn’, Youth Sector are following in the footsteps of The Maccabees, Blood Red Shoes and Sea Power in carving their own unique path to indie success.

Latest EP ‘Free Parking’ is the latest of a handful of releases from Youth Sector that have seen them perfect their synth infused art-rock, with celebration from Emily Pilbeam of BBC Radio 6. Now they are readying themselves for bigger stages and bigger audiences. Following a successful set of shows stateside at SXSW, they arrived at their self-professed second hometown for Live at Leeds.

A Definitive Guide to Easy Living

They took to the Dork Left Stage in their trademark stylish suits in an early afternoon slot. Then, they quickly whipped the crowd into action with ‘A Definitive Guide to Easy Living’. The first of the dance along tracks that instantly suited the sunny summer weather of the day. After this was an exciting taste of things to come, with a new track called ‘Spitting Image’ which kept up the party mood.

The Devo inspired synths of ‘Free Parking’ fully showcased the band’s abilities to combine catchy vocals with complex harmonic instrumentals. On vocals, Nick Tompkins oozes cool. He wears his David Byrne influences with an infectious sprechgesang that he alternates with his high singing register.

No. 1 Best Seller

Although the complexity reached its peak with Josh Doyle’s bassline on ‘No.1 Bestseller’. As a whole they are one of the tightest new bands. But their fresh, syncopated funk sound would not be the same without the high level of proficiency demonstrated by the bassist.

Then, back to their latest EP with the more restrained ‘Benign Fire in a Small Room’. Without sacrificing any of their qualities, they are showing that they can offer more of a variety when it comes to tempo and vocal style.

The Ball

But back to true form, the funk guitars and irresistible disco beats returned with the utterly unique ‘The Ball’. It’s a song that feels like it would have topped the charts in the 80s. But rather than feeling dated or later than its time, Youth Sector provide a fresh take on a summery sound. Something that can rarely be found with such exuberance in modern bands. “Let’s get this year out of here in our rear-view mirror” has the potential to be a true festival sing along line.

To finish off the set, there were two tracks from previous EPs that have helped them gain their increasing reputation for excellent live shows. The frantic drums and stabbing guitars of ‘Self Exile’ was so captivating that the catchiness of the chorus of “That should do it, That should do it, That should do it, This time” hit you by surprise.

No Fanfare

If there’s one word to describe last song ‘No Fanfare’, the word ‘bop’ is as suitable as any. It was quickly out the gates with more jagged guitar and synth leads, and a frantic bassline. The song then exploded into its frenzied chorus of “Saved your life once or twice. Saved your life a thousand times. Fanfare, no fanfare.”

There would be bigger bands on bigger stages that day. But, Youth Sector certainly seized the attention of their part of the field. These impressive live performances will surely earn them bigger billings in the future too, even before the release of a debut album.

Sam Campbell
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