Test Tube Baby
You want to talk about an adventurous band? Kristeen Young are a guitar-less duo featuring a heavy pounding drummer (“Baby” Jeff White) and a keyboard beating banshee (Young) with the voice and presence that can only be compared to the queens of the wild and weird: Tori Amos and Bjork. No guitar, no bass, no traditional sounds anywhere on the band’s Tony Visconti-produced album, The Orphans. What you’re served here is a remarkably bold piece of work that will challenge your conceptions of popular music.
Young’s voice sounds classically trained, maybe even operatic, but instead of being confined inside the tight-lipped world of classical music, she’s channeled her skills into the wide open space of rock ‘n’ roll. An opera house could not contain the wild energy that grows inside of that diaphragm. It’s only on the fields of the secular sounds that her impossibly powerful vocal chords can stretch and experiment.
In the midst of her voice, the keyboard and drum parts crawl overtop of one another; so complete are the combined three instruments (keys, drums, voice) that I don’t miss the guitar. It’s unnecessary, with songs so perfect as “Kill the Father” and “9.”
If you need further convincing that this is an album to be ingested properly, she’s already found fans (and collaborators) in Morrissey, David Bowie and Brian Molko (Placebo).
Kristeen Young: www.kristeenyoung.com