Taking inspiration from late 70s/80s-era funk music, most notably in the joyful interaction of the guitars and the bass, on Brighton quintet, Youth ‘Teeth’ the band reference Nile Rogers and CHIC’s knack for penning interesting, active instrumentals whilst remaining totally accessible and never overwhelming or self-indulgent.
Commenting on the track, which is laced with one of the most unforgettable bass grooves of the year, the band said: “Teeth’ sees us continue to push into more rhythmic territory and embrace the influence of funk bands Parliament and Tower Of Power, with its constant danceable groove punctuated by wonky guitars throughout. Lyrically the single explores the sinister magnetism of untrustworthy people and the way they can enter the lives of those vulnerable to their charms.”
Youth Sector’s music is a coiled spring of urgency and unpredictable energy, while lyrically offering a sense of catharsis for the confusion of modern adult life. Regimented drum beats and saw-tooth synth sounds are matched with erratic, dynamic vocals.
“We’re drawn to the balance between making something sound interesting and exciting while keeping it melodic and catchy,” explains front man Nick Tompkins of their approach to writing. “It’s a difficult but enjoyable line to tread. Lyrically the idea of writing through the eyes of a character is something that grabs me particularly, as it helps me to empathise with and explore perspectives that I don’t hold myself, as well as use characters to demonstrate more serious frustrations I have with the world.”
Brighton-based, but with members from London and Portsmouth, the band met whilst at university viewing student digs. As the only musicians he knew at the time, Tompkins quickly snapped up the remaining members for a musical project he was working on that would eventually become Youth Sector.
“It seems to have forced us to up our game musically, particularly in live performance,” say the band of their local scene. “There are pros and cons to the sheer amount of music in Brighton but one of the pros is that you cannot afford to be complacent; we’ve never had a moment where we felt like we were rising to the top of the Brighton scene – you have to keep pushing yourself in order to keep afloat.”
As a group, their interests are as disparate as their music—guitarist Brad Moore spent 2019 working in a fort in the sea and had to get the ferry to work every day; Tompkins makes strange sculptures out of clay in his spare time; bassist Josh Doyle wishes he was a cowboy; synth player Harvey Dent can do an ollie, and drummer Dan Smith is old enough to know better.
Taking influence from art school greats DEVO, Parquet Courts and Talking Heads, the Brighton art-rock 5 piece never revel in bleakness, managing to twist everyday narratives into music that is quite the opposite; upbeat, full of energy, with irresistible hooks and choruses you can’t help but sing along with.
The band released their incredibly strong debut EP Mundanity earlier this year, preceded by a string of drip-fed singles with artwork by the legendary Storm Studios (Pink Floyd, The Mars Volta, Muse).
With early support coming from DIY, The Line of Best Fit, DORK, So Young Magazine and Gigwise, plus heavy rotation from BBC R1, BBC 6music, Amazing Radio and Radio X, their tracks have also piqued playlist interest from editorial teams at Spotify, Amazon, Deezer and Apple Music. Previous single ‘No Fanfare’ recently appeared on Channel 4 reality show Made In Chelsea.
“We’re absolutely aching to play shows in 2021,” say the band of their plans for the future, “as many as possible and as soon as possible – that’s priority number one. We’ve also been working hard on new material towards the latter end of 2020 and have some exciting ideas for it early next year. It’s difficult to plan ahead right now for obvious reasons so we’re taking small, tentative steps towards next year…”
Header image by Dan Kendall