I have been sitting on this one for a while due to my laptop issues, so I am quite glad to finish it off. This is a review of the fourth album from Young Guns who are from High Wycombe, UK. In recent months, they have been touring the UK with Billy Talent as well as going around Europe and the USA. They have been very busy in the eight years since they formed, they have toured with the likes of Bring Me the Horizon, Breaking Benjamins, Yellow Card and on a Kerrang Tour as well; they have also had their music used on WWE PPV's and they have been making a name for themselves in the world. For me though, even though I know I would have heard their music on the WWE shows, I have not really been aware of them before; so, this release is now part of the great ATTIWLTMOWOS tradition that is Cover Roulette! So, a review that is three weeks old and all because the cover grabbed my attention - what could go wrong?
01 – Bullet Proof
Starting with a confident riff, a big bass and a little bit of attitude that is required with this sort of rock music, ‘Bullet Proof’ talks about thinking that you are not going to fall and having to test the theory at times. It is one of those opening tracks which does not exactly explode, but for some reason you find yourself wanting to hit the repeat button for more Post-grunge goodness. The whole package seems to have the right level of confidence and a little bit of fear as well to be honest.
02 – Echoes
Next is the title track of the album which starts with an effect of chimes on the guitar and then it starts to show another Post-grunge number that has a great chorus hook that has took me a long time to stop randomly singing (this can be embarrassing when in public and no-one else can hear the song), but it is a brilliant track and I can see why it is also the title song of the album – it is an instant hit.
03 – Careful What You Wish For
Going a little heavier here with a large presence from the bass here, this rumbling song is a tale about not always for the best that you get what you want. It is a slower track in some ways, taking everything back a little, but not in terms of energy or connectivity. It is a dark horse and it just keeps on giving over and over again.
04 – Paranoid
No, this is not a cover of the Black Sabbath classic, this is a totally new song called ‘Paranoid’. I was a little scared when I first played it that it would be a dull song that does not reach its potential, happy I can say that the band have proven me wrong on this number. It is a grower once again; it is not a smash and grab and sometimes that means it will be one that is held as a classic in the future. For me, it is a good number that does require a bit of effort at times due to the slower nature of the song in comparison to other songs on the record.
05 – Mad World
The energy returns to the album here with a vengeance, it has a rolling drum beat that can get anyone out of their seats and jumping around with the rest of them. It is a song that deals with the fear of humanity that is in the air and how the world could be seen to be slightly of its head. One of the rockier numbers on the album, it will please all fans of the band with its energy and self-reliant message.
06 – Awakening
This is a slower number, more introverted and dealing with rebirth and change that is needed in all forms of life. It is about not being able to rest, moving forward and accepting the challenges ahead. It is one that takes a while to gain traction for me, it is played well and sound good, but I am not a fan of the verse sections on this song. There is just too much room for my own liking and it does not quite reach the point I am sure the band were aiming for. A decent number, but no more than that.
07 – Living in a Dream
Leading with keyboards and more echoes, this song is another reflective number that does not aiming for the more aggressive side of the band. It is a love song with a glance towards a broken relationship; once more I was not connecting with this number as the verses were not doing anything for me – but then they launch into the chorus and bridge sections and I am sold. That is a good song when it can change your mind whilst it is being played, one of the best songs on the album and a chorus I love playing loud!
08 – Buried
These guys really love their light & dark songs – what I am getting at here is that each verse is very spacious and then they up the ante with a loud chorus that makes it all come together. This song reminds me of Linkin Park with the heavy keyboard work that is the lynch pin of the song, the vocals are really good as well, but it is not quite reaching the level of other songs on the album.
09 – Mercury in Retrograde
One of the night songs on this album, one for the small hours when time is slower and emotions are breakable. It is more pop than rock on this number, a sad love song with hidden means and nods towards events in the past. It is another decent number that does nothing wrong and in the same breath, does not have that connections that is required for such an emotive number. However, once again the chorus is catchy as a cold in the middle of winter.
10 – Paradise
A piano intro and the pain is left for everyone to see. The emotional baggage is being dispensed on this one, words are being said that will not be able to be taken back and it is a heartbreaker. Another gentle song, not pop or rock as it contains elements of both and will be accepted by fans of each genre, it is one of those numbers which you will either love or hate.
11 – Afterglow
Ending the album is ‘Afterglow’ which has a slow start and it starts to build up as the song moves forward. Thankfully the rock has been found for this album as it was starting to lose steam towards the end of the record, with this number about looking for the warm feeling that is always there when a relationship starts. It is a good ending track with a great riff, the usual good chorus and it showcases all the points of the band in the correct light.
So what do I think of this album? Well, let’s get the negatives out of the way first: Firstly, none of these songs last too long when some could have been stretched out a little bit, there was room for movement and not to make them sub-four minute Kerrang! hits for the kids. There was also a few too many slow numbers towards the end of the album which threatened to end the album on a dower note. Now, the positives: For all the bitching I just did about the song lengths, they do work on many levels. The band have a knack of making a great chorus which can turn a song around within seconds. As an introduction to the band for me, it is a really good record that showcases their positives and also shows there is still room for a little growth and improvement and that is always a positive. I would recommend this album to anyone who likes modern metal & rock as it ticks all these boxes.
8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention as well as my time, money and heart
Top track – Living in a dream or Bulletproof