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Obscure Sound Review 'Who Invented Love?'

'The Young Playthings delivered an interesting live set by dressing up in pink trucker hats and reading erotic fiction to a crowd of sexually anxious teenagers. Even with their shocking on-stage antics and their emphatic personalities, The Young Playthings are churning out some very solid music.'

Personality is a behavioral aspect that can often serve as an authoritative judge of character. Bubbling personalities often signify confidence, while those who seclude their emotions represent a lack of ego and personal drive. Additionally, personality has always played a vital role in the production of art. Music is no exception. If the members in a band are all known to be apparent sexaholics with a knack for cussing every other word, wouldn’t you expect the music to be in a similar mold? To the contrary, the lyrical humor will most likely be using that archetypal formula in finding humor in what most gynecologists would call a resolute professional career.

The Young Playthings are one of those bands that rarely takes themselves seriously with this sort of mindset, though do not let that throw you off, as they create some very stellar music. Despite defining themselves as a “trio of true romantics”, I sense a bit of their consistent sarcasm as the three members in London’s newest acclaimed power-punk are nothing more than a bunch of wholesome musicians who love to have fun by satirizing the most authentic human emotions, whether it be love or jealousy. In addition to their blunt nature, they just reek of confidence. After all, how many bands are dauntless enough to call one of their first singles, “Hot Sex With A Girl I Love”? As odd as it may be, at least the “love” aspect takes away from any signs of absolute lust that the band shows in various other songs.

As odd as that sounds, that is not even the beginning of their enjoyable flamboyance. A few months ago, The Young Playthings delivered an interesting live set by dressing up in pink trucker hats and reading erotic fiction to a crowd of sexually anxious teenagers. Even with their shocking on-stage antics and their emphatic personalities, The Young Playthings are churning out some very solid music. Their debut album will be released on May 14th, with its title pondering a very common question: Who Invented Love? The past year following up to the debut’s release has certainly been an eventful one for the band. Besides releasing three singles and a couple of music videos, The Young Playthings have played on a lengthy tour with The Pipettes, whose surefire doo-wop pop magic appears to have rubbed off on consuming tracks like “So Good, So Bad… So Good!”, with the name of their song “Ship Shapes” appearing to be noticeably similar to The Pipettes’ most reputable single, “Pull Shapes”. Either way, Pulp started the fad with the tireless “Mis-shapes” in 1996. Prior to all these events, The Young Playthings initially emerged in September 2005 with their debut single,  “The Young Playthings Love U Like That”, following it up with two more singles, “She’s a Rebel” and “Yr So Fit (For Me)”, in the following months, with the latter featuring Rosay from The Pipettes. After enlisting the aid of Pipettes producer Andy Dragazis, 'Who Invented Love' was recorded throughout the majority of 2006. Finally, The Young Playthings’ lengthy commitment will pay off when the album releases on May 14th.

'Who Invented Love?' is certainly a plentiful offering, featuring the likes of strings, brass, and other orchestral elements on top of the traditional power-punk guitars, bass, and percussion. Headed by guitarist Bateman, bassist/vocalist Jors Truly, and drummer Tibor Beetles, such nicknames are nearly as fun as the band’s sound. While elements of punk can define the band most wholeheartedly, defining The Young Playthings as a power-pop band is not far from reach. While songs like the opening “Kimberly Renee” and “Hot Sex With A Girl I Love" sound like many other generic punk songs in the genre, The Young Playthings hit their stride on more authentically executed power-pop cuts like the irresistibly catchy “So Good, So Bad… So Good!” and the uncharacteristically serious and romantic “Just A Fool”, a song that is as touching as The Young Playthings will get with acoustics, a country slide, sparkling keys, and a percussive shuffle. Whereas the vocals of Jors Truly sound somewhat whiney in the punk-oriented songs, “Just A Fool” relays emotional strain in an effective form, being a dramatic transition from the jumpy punk that are the first two tracks on 'Who Invented Love?' “Tune” is a rock ballad with a common introspective theme focused on loneliness and lost love while “Last Night In Los Angeles” showcases a bit of that desirable geek-rock effect, reminiscing somewhat in the form of Weezer or other forms of power-pop in the mid-90s.

One of the album’s final tracks, “The American West”, reaches nearly nine minutes in length; an odd characteristic for a band of The Young Playthings’ direct nature. Surprisingly, the song manages to hold its own throughout most of the duration even if the unavoidable trait of repetitiveness is harmful to overcome. Even so, a plethora of hooks still emerge on later moments that are gradually built upon for minutes beforehand. Serving as a metaphor for most of 'Who Invented Love?', The Young Playthings’ fun debut is filled with charming hooks and lyrical humor, even if some of the more straightforward punk songs get tiring after a while. It is easy to see why The Pipettes and local London natives are so fond of The Young Playthings, as several of their songs are of enough quality to gain a substantial amount of success.

- Mike, Obscure Sound