The Underground Youth is a Manchester-born, Berlin-based group led by Craig Dyer that, in the spring of 2021, released their tenth album, ‘The Falling’, via Fuzz Club Records. The new full-length sees Craig Dyer and band trade their acerbic post-punk melancholy for a more refined and stripped-back sound that, instead, enters the world of romantic, shadowy folk-noir. A marked departure from the primal intensity often heard on the band’s previous work, ‘The Falling’ showcases a softer, more cinematic musical landscape shaped by acoustic guitars, piano, accordion and a heavy presence of violin and string arrangements. It’s not just the instrumentation and atmospherics that have undergone a transformation on this record, it is also Craig’s most sincere and introspective work to date.
Being curious about what kind of influences served the inspiration behind the albums sound, we asked Craig to share some of his favourites with us and he sent us a quite classy list of songs.
Read about it below!
LEONARD COHEN – AVALANCHE (1971)
With ‘The Falling’ I really fell back to the inspiration of some of the writers who had the earliest influence on me, Cohen, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith etc. It was a conscious decision from the start of the writing process that we would include string arrangements, and on ‘Songs of Love and Hate’, there is this sparse beauty to how these instruments are arranged and recorded. It also doesn’t need saying how monumentally important Cohen’s poetry and lyrics are to my own writing.
TOWNES VAN ZANDT – SILVER SHIPS OF ANDILAR (1972)
Townes is one of the true authentic greats, and with us moving on this record towards a more folky sound, I have to acknowledge his influence on how I hear country and blues. The honesty in his vocal is unparalleled, you can hear both the pain and the beauty. I could have picked from many of his tracks, but this one has long been a favourite of mine.
JOHN CALE – DYING ON THE VINE (1985)
John Cale is another of those writers who influenced me early on, I hadn’t heard this song for years but then Olya picked up a vinyl copy and it was on repeat for a long while. The lyrics, the vocal delivery, it’s all so inspired. And it’s a beautifully produced song with this drum track that stays with you long after it’s over.
THE GUN CLUB – MOTHER OF EARTH (1982)
I was listening a lot to the album ‘Miami’ during the process of writing ‘The Falling’, I thought The Gun Club’s ability to merge punk with a sort of country style was something we’d be looking at as the sound for this album. I don’t know if it necessarily worked out that way, but I can’t deny Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s lasting influence on my guitar playing and songwriting.
ANGLES OF LIGHT – UNTITLED LOVE SONG (2001)
Maybe this list of songs could come across as quite a sombre selection, but I guess that’s something of where I was whilst writing the record. This wonderful track by Michael Gira is one of my favourites from the Angels’ album ‘How I Loved You’. A beautiful record, I took a lot of inspiration from the instruments used throughout, it gave me the confidence to bring some new ideas to ‘The Falling’, such as picking up and playing the accordion on ‘A Sorrowful Race’.
THE WATERBOYS – FISHERMAN’S BLUES (1988)
This track has long been a band favourite and I wanted to in some way bring in the drunken swing of that style, something in the way The Pogues do so well. I wrote ‘For You Are The One’ with this in mind, and Leo’s guitar and the lead violin add a real lively vibe to the track. I think it remains one of my favourite songs from the new album.