Youngstrr Joey - Grilled Wiig (Song, By Toad)

Youngstrr Joey – Grilled Wiig (Song, By Toad)


One suspects that, had John Peel been alive today, Youngstrr Joey would have been a regular facet of his show. Somehow managing to wed unfathomably weird guitar grooves with ardent party pop commerciality, Donnelly’s spacey, lo-fi arrangements have much in keeping with the late DJ’s favoured late night meanderings, and it is hard to envisage something of this calibre failing to have made his festive 50 come year end.

Youngstrr Joey is most certainly a name to watch out for this year. The brainchild/alter ego of Cal Donnelly, his music reminds me of the kind of ramshackle nonsense that I used to write when I was nineteen. That is not meant to be an insult, but it comes as no surprise to me, to learn that Donnelly is that very age himself. The difference between his compositions and my old teenage musings though, is that his are definitely NOT nonsense, instead being subversive and edgy enough to catch you off your guard.

Emma‘, for instance, has the minimalist charm of the likes of Moldy Peaches, but performed lying in a marijuana smoke haze at the aftermath of a University bash. I have no idea how big a role drugs play in the life of Donnelly, or if they even feature at all, but there is little doubt that the music that flows from his feathered quill often has something of a narcotic descent about it. Take, as exhibit A, ‘Sorry‘, a cosmic arrangement that sounds a little like something Bobby Gillespie would have written during an amphetamine comedown. Or perhaps ‘Posture‘, which you could imagine the brothers Reid rejecting as “not commercial enough” to fit on Psychocandy, despite masquerading as a strident, mangled Mary Chain.

It’s all invigorating stuff, a lot of the tracks here sounding as though they could have come straight from a free vinyl seven inch in a mid-eighties issue of the NME. Donnelly, once he has happened on a promising riff, proceeds to squeeze and shred every last ounce of melody from its pores, and curiously, it is this no-holds-barred approach which make the record so absorbing.

Methinks we’ll be hearing a lot more from Cal Donnelly over the coming decade, and I, for one, am more than intrigued to see which direction he chooses to take. My money’s on the dimly lit alley filled with unsavoury but interesting characters who lead him astray…we can but hope anyway.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.