At their best, The Young Gods have used the sampler to create whole worlds of sonic adventures, almost topographic in all their psychedelic detail. Cabaret music, Charles Baudelaire, contorted metal riffs, headspinning surrealistic imagery, Jim Morrison, classical strings and nature sounds are just some of the reference points that swirl around inside my skull when listening to “XX Years 1985-2005”, where 20 tracks are compiled to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary.
The compilation culls tracks from all the band’s studio albums except the disappointing ambient excursion “Music for Artificial Clouds”. Although the choice of songs can always be discussed when it comes to compilations, I for one have few complaints when “Envoye”, “L’eau rouge”, “Our House”, “Astronomic”, “September Song” and “Kissing the Sun” flow out of my speakers. The cavalcade of songs even almost make me forget how much I long for “Lounge route”, “Dame Chance” or “La fille de la mort”.
What’s particularly pleasing about “XX Years 1985-2005” is two things: how well these sonic maelstroms have stood the test of time - and the brand new song “Secret”. Opening with a torrent of glitches, “Secret” brings vintage Young Gods into the 21st century, keeping the brute force of their classic early material but updating the means. Explosive and subtle at the same time, it pretty much sums up the attraction The Young Gods have always had on me, as does this compilation as a whole. Not to mention how well it bodes for their upcoming album, due out next year.