Young Magic has always been a hybrid group, able to mix electronic and pop with global elements. The group is comprised of Isaac Emmanuel and Michael Italia, who both come from diverse backgrounds. Emmanuel, a native Australian, and Italia, who has Indonesian roots, spent time exploring abroad before forming the group, and ultimately made this album while touring four continents, wrapping it up in their New York home. With this in mind, this group should have been able to gather enough music from around the world to produce a unique album with its own trademark sound. Unfortunately, “Breathing Statues” does little to distinguish Young Magic from other artists who fall into the same electronic category.
The album starts off with an odd 29-second-long song called “One” that seems to go nowhere and doesn’t even transition into the second song. From there, it takes on the ethereal and dreamy tones that have become a trend with other electronic artists. With layers upon layers of synth and bass, the group doesn’t add new elements to make the sound stand out; it doesn’t really matter the order the songs are in, because almost the whole album sounds like one continuous song, all mixing together and making it hard to determine when one song ends and the other begins. For most albums, smooth transitions are really effective, but if you can’t tell most of the songs apart, it just becomes a jumbled mess. At times, Young Magic tries to break the mold by adding a song with a more pronounced bass-line, but fails at doing so by falling back into the same rhythmic and vocal pattern that exists in every track.
The only two songs that stand out are “Hologram” and “Mythnomer” — although not revolutionary, they are a nice break from the almost-trance music that leaves a numb haze echoing around in listeners’ ears. “Hologram” picks up the pace as the most energetic song in this album. It feels like the only one that doesn’t rely on that airy tone, and keeps a good rhythm that will keep your head bobbing as you listen, which is the most positive reaction that you will get out of “Breathing Statues.” While “Mythnomer” begins to fall into the same slow pattern that the whole album continues, it is heavier on percussion and contains fewer instrumental and digital layers than the other songs — and its minimalism leaves a big impact in this album because it doesn’t have as much repetitive texture as the other songs.
The takeaway from “Breathing Statues” is that if you are looking for a good electronic-trance piece to put in the background, then give it a listen. The main point is to provide atmosphere, and this is great to put on if you want to be overcome with calmness while working on something else, or if you want to take a nap. But besides having a great atmospheric tone, it doesn’t provide anything else. The album melds so much into the background that it’s easy to forget that it’s even there at times; it fades out and leaves no memorable aspects, so light that it ultimately disappears.
Rating: 2.5 stars