I kind of had an idea of what I was in for just looking at the album cover for Spiritual Atheist by David Younger. My first thoughts were that the album was going to be reflective and nostalgic. It is pretty much those things but infused with prog rock as well. The songs sound like a combination of Pink Floyd style guitar solos, Queensrÿche and Rush. Spiritual Atheist lacks any elements that sound anywhere close to contemporary. No hint. Younger has a voice that I needed to warm up to. At first I straight up didn’t like it but as I listened more it grew on me.
I can tell you right now the hardest thing to swallow with this album are the length of the songs. There are seven songs and most of them are around the ten-minute mark. The cold hard reality is that people rarely have patience for songs this long in this day and age unless you are called Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Spiritual Atheist would have been easier to handle if Younger put a couple of shorter songs in the mix but he doesn’t.
One song after another is an epic journey, which Younger expects you to ride along with. I thought a number of the songs could have easily been trimmed down to four or five minutes. Take for instance “It’s Not Too Late,” which has three guitar solos that feel largely repetitive.
Younger implements a very similar style to each song on the album. The verse is usually softly implemented with some variation of tranquil piano, lyrics and synthetic orchestral strings. After that you will usually be treated with a guitar solo that has tone that lies between Pink Floyd and Joe Satriani. To Younger’s credit he is very good lead player who can rip it up. That being said how many guitar solos do we really need?
A couple of songs like “Once In A Lifetime” and “Therapy Game” omit the piano and instead rely on strings. Both these songs have a heavy bass influence. The style in which Younger plays is reminiscent to Rush.
I really have a hard time seeing this album having much impact with 20 somethings. If anything it will most likely appeal to people who are above the age of thirty-five. Younger has talent as a songwriter and I appreciate his long-style writing in some ways but the album is sixty-five minutes in length. A long journey almost any way you look at it. Unfortunately, a lot of people these days don’t give new music much of a chance if it doesn’t grab them right away. If you always thought Rush would sound great with Pink Floyd style guitar solos and more piano than I think you will make it past the first song without having to crack a beer.
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