Monument Valley is a new one man project consisting of London based singer/songwriter Ned Younger, his debut album under this new alias is Walking On Skin and is the first release he has handled himself out of management. The album draws lyrical and melodic influence from some of Younger’s personal heroes, such as Leonard Cohen and Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastion), and features vocal contributions by Kerry Leathum. Walking On Skin is said to be a deep and meaningful ode to Younger’s hometown.
You could write a novel from the concept of Too Loud, Younger’s attention to detail really flows through his lyrics; the overall feel of the track brings home the narrative as well, it’s not over the top which allows us to be told the story about life’s struggles. Tattooed Fists is the album’s leading single, it is intriguing to the ears and it sums up the fracturing of everyday relationships in a nutshell; Decade Of Divas allows Younger to put past bruises behind him and accept that the scars of the past won’t fade, but there is hope for the present and the future. When I Go Clear is somewhat reminiscent between two close friends, Kerry Leathum’s contribution to the song was touching. Web Of Veins takes the album on a different journey sonically, the guitar work and the beat drives the track and gives it this sound distinct from its predecessors whilst still allowing Younger to tell the narrative.
Your New Man begins with a vocal soundscape and finger clicking, before the piano and the slight beat sneak in between verses and throughout the chorus. The introduction to Your Cover Blown was minimal yet interesting, the melody of the verse carried the narrative smoothly and the overall vibe of the track was like a dreamscape as it eased into the climax towards the end. Walking Home is about allowing yourself the time to dwell on thoughts before taking action, it’s one of the more upbeat tracks on the album; closing track Plans ends the album on a lighter sounding note, but the lyrical content is a lot more in depth than the melody, you feel just as heartbroken as Younger sounds as he sings the words to us.
Walking On Skin is a heart tugging, attention hogging and informative debut release from Monument Valley. Ned Younger is a strong lyricist who seems to effortlessly be able to write any story for any melody that comes to mind, a true singer/songwriter. His depth on the past, present and his optimism for the future based on his life in his hometown is captivating in each track; there was not one song where you weren’t intrigued enough to skip a track, you just have to listen from start to finish to truly understand what Monument Valley is all about. Hopefully this won’t be all we hear from Ned Younger’s self managed efforts.