Young Man: Beyond Was All Around Me

Caulfield and his bandmates are moving on to new things, and there's reason to be optimistic.

Young Man

Beyond Was All Around Me

Label: Frenchkiss
US Release Date: 2013-04-09
UK Release Date: Import

Just a few years ago Colin Caulfield attracted attention with his YouTube covers of cuts by bands like Beach House, Animal Collective, and, most notably due to the response, Deerhunter. The Young Man EP that quickly followed felt like a rushed bedroom project, but college student Caulfield was still figuring out what he was doing and there seemed to be enough promise there to at least see what came next. What did come next was three full-length albums from 2011 to 2013, each one shaped as a concept album with the whole set playing as a trilogy. The latest, and apparently the last music to be released by Caulfield as Young Man, Beyond Was All Around Me shows Caulfield continuing his growth, expanding his atmospheres and working within more complex arrangements.

Boy was one guy in a dorm room doing his thing, but the Young Man has broadened considerably since then, and if the guiding vision is still Caulfield's, the result sounds more like the output of a cohesive band and not a set of backing musicians. The string arrangements on the album get some attention, as much for existing as for their quality (and that's not criticism of the arrangements, which are well done; we just seem to want to talk about them as contrast to the early, early years of 2010 rather than as arrangements). The strings are arranged by Ben Talmi and performed by musicians not technically part of Young Man. The increased collaboration and expanded roster of artists suggests Caulfield's stretching himself and it generally pays off.

There are still missteps on the album. When the group most falters is when they most head off into Pink Floyd wanderings. They're aware at least of the influence, even thanking the group in the album notes “for not suing us”. New drummer Darien Williams keeps “In Time” from going to far afield, but the track meanders for far too long, and loses focus in its spaciness. Around the four-and-a-half-minute mark, the song turns into an outtake from Dark Side of the Moon that would probably only work if listened to in a planetarium. The band falters in the little ways, too, as on the Caulfield number “Being Alone” which starts as a ditty and swirls to something that's not powerful in its build or in its resonance.

More often, though, the band matches the album's lyrical concerns with moving into adulthood with more interesting performances. “In a Sense” spreads itself out, yet the group's patience pays off. There's a nice use of space, and the drums advance the song with the instrumentalists provide texture and tones through their repetitions. This build resonates and develops almost a sonic maturity to go along with the singer's realizations. “School” likewise uses its long running time to make a statement, merging loveliness with tension before releasing first into a swaying sort of rock and then to something with more drive. There's a touch of a band like Elbow here, but Young Man doesn't settle into an influence. At times like this, it's apparent that Caulfield and his bandmates are moving on to new things, and there's reason to be optimistic.






The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.