Linus Young - 'Category 5' (album stream) (Premiere)

Featuring catchy melodies and entrancing male/female vocal interplay, the new album by the Los Angeles-based duo Linus Young, Category 5, is worth several good listens.

Iris Belson and Joseph Walker go by the name Linus Young as a recording duo. Walker says of the band's moniker, “Linus Young was a family friend who lived in New Orleans. He was an older gentleman, but decided to stay during Hurricane Katrina. His house ended up flooding and he drowned, and so we picked up that name to keep his legacy alive. He was a very sweet soul. It felt like the right fit.” And pay tribute to Young the band does; Category 5, Linus Young's debut LP, is a bold statement of intent that's both very much a product of its time and constantly thinking about how to do things differently.

Beginning with a clean, melodic opening track akin to the xx ("Cool Trip"), the album goes all sorts of varying directions. What brings the music together as a cohesive collection is the interplay of Belson and Walker's vocals; a natural duo, the two play off of each other in all the right ways throughout these ten songs. (See the rich, choir-like harmonies of "Home (Intro)" for a case in point.) Especially worth a spin is the flux-driven "Crystal Ball", which oscillates from a dirty electric guitar riff to gentle acoustic passages. An auspicious debut from a promising group, Category 5 stands out above the patently oversaturated indie crop at the moment.

Category 5 is out now on Island.

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