Yungblud – Weird! review: Hits the pop-indie-rock bullseye, but that's the problem

Such wild disdain for conformity can often be enthralling but it doesn’t quite work here

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Artist: Yungblud
Genre: Alternative
Label: Polydor

It's hard not to like Yungblud, at least on a personal level. Doncaster native Dominic Harrison (23) is a beacon of individuality on the music scene, a one-man confetti cannon in a sea of bland indie types and predictable pop stars. While Harry Styles is feted for the odd gender-blurring magazine shoot, Yungblud routinely turns up to awards shows (as he did at this November's MTV EMAs) wearing a white mini-dress and pink socks.

With songs embracing outsider culture, the eccentric musician ticks every box. Yet although influenced by the unholy trinity of Marilyn Manson, Oasis and Lady Gaga, Yungblud's sound hits the middle ground of a pop/indie/rock miscellany – and therein lies the problem with his second album.

These songs, written in the wake of a disconcerting 18-month period where he split from fellow pop star Halsey and almost lost his mum in a car accident, are personal but erratic affairs. He breezes giddily through the angsty emo-pop of Teresa and Strawberry Lipstick, tackles The 1975-style pop of Cotton Candy and the Arctic Monkeys swagger of Mars (written about a trans fan) with little regard for consistency. Super Dead Friends sounds like he’s been mainlining Beastie Boys albums, while Charity’s cheeky-chappy elasticity nods to Blur’s Parklife.

Such wild disdain for conformity can often be enthralling, but it doesn’t quite work here. Yungblud may yet make a great album, but this isn’t it.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times