Gabby Young & other animals
“Elements of music hall, opera, big band jazz and foot-stomping folk are all poured in to the mix with Gabby’s incredible vocal gymnastics holding it all together”- The Sun
“Words cannot describe the plethora of varying sensations Gabby bestowed upon her salivating audience. For your own insanity, Gabby Young and Other Animals must be seen live and in full technicolour.” -Kentishtowner
The Guardian * * * * The Daily Mirror * * * * Financial Times * * * * The Sun * * * *
Gabby Young’s twisting roots have carried her and that stunning voice from her native Wiltshire around the UK to land with a bang at the centre of London’s music scene. The youngest ever recruit to the National Youth Choir at the age of 12, Gabby was on track to become an opera singer until Jeff Buckley and the jazz greats inspired her to switch teams. ‘My family was equestrian and sporty, but I liked being by myself – a bit of a recluse, really. Still, I did all the styles from goth to hippy to punk.’
Whilst still in her teens Gabby frequented open mic nights and played with a spectrum of bands before recording her first solo record in her bedroom before she turned 21. Gabby’s unique perspective of the world around her is inspired as much by imagination as real events, but when thyroid cancer threatened to take her classically trained voice at the age of 22, she got serious about recording her stories. Using her recovery time to pen her melodies, Gabby took in global influences to fuel her heartfelt emotion which shines through her beautifully haunting songs. ‘I feel blessed rather than afflicted,’ she says simply.
In 2012, with a list of accolades as long as a pair of stripy tights, Gabby Young And Other Animals, (otherwise known as the “World’s Finest Purveyors of Circus Swing” – Clive Anderson, Loose Ends, R4) released their new highly anticipated album, ‘The Band Called Out For More’, on 11th June in the UK.
Written by Gabby (and her partner Stephen Ellis, who also produces), this 13 track work represents a giant sonic step forward. Its colourful avant-garde sound, with lush orchestration, horns and quiet melodies, exudes the best bits of music hall, burlesque, 1920s flapper music, Nouvelle Vague cinema and torch songs. Indeed, Gabby comes across like Rufus Wainwright’s energetic younger sister – bred perhaps on a diet of Bjork, Imogen Heap, and Joanne Newsom – as she sets out winningly to reinvent her own genre, Circus Swing. ‘My sound’s matured,’ is all she’ll say. ‘I’ll admit that. I’ve honed my craft. I’m very happy and settled where I wasn’t before. ‘
Lead single ‘In Your Head’ allows fans to connect with the upbeat party tempo of the first album. Its witty animated interactive promo video, in which you can ‘choose’ which animal to be saved from an evil ringmaster, was produced by Gabby’s friend Georgina Hurcombe (Lovelove Films). So is it all a metaphor for music industry? ‘Perhaps,’ sighs Gabby, with a smile. Where the first album was more uniform in style, ‘The Band…’ cleverly juxtaposes both tempos and themes. ‘Goldfish Bowl’s jauntiness belies its feelings of ‘being trapped’ (‘one look takes me down a peg and breaks me’), whilst the catchy horn-infused ‘Walk Away’, Gabby’s first song written on piano, builds to a celebratory climax: ‘I woke up one morning at 6am,’ she says, ‘and this came out, lyrics and all, in 5 minutes. It was something I really needed to say to my Dad.’
And it’s worth rhapsodizing over the album’s two masterpieces: the first is ‘Segment’, which opens quietly before building into an almighty strings-charged Arcade Fire-style workout. ‘I wrote it whilst twiddling about with some shapes on the guitar; Stephen Ellis came up with the rest of the tune and the main riff – and turned my ditty into an epic.’
The second is the serpentine ‘Neither Beginning Nor The End’, a spine-tingling mid-tempo classic that opens with the lines: ‘I’m a grandfather clock. I slow down every day…’ It builds to a plea – ‘don’t let me down’ – complete with operatic flourishes, before an abrupt finish leaving the listener needing more. ‘After a period of writer’s block I started writing furiously. Some of my songs have meanings that not even I am clear about – and this is one of them. It has images of religion, things breaking, but I’m pretty sure that when I start playing this live I’ll discover its true meaning.’
Gabby smiles. ‘Indecision is a common thread in my songs and this title fits in rather nicely.’ It’s also an apt – if rather understated – phrase for where this big UK talent is in her career.
- Label: Gift Of The Gab Records
- Based in: London, UK
- Band/Crew: 3-8 on stage/ 4-9 travelling
- Territory: WORLDWIDE (excl. GASFNL)