Young Guns

All Our Kings Are Dead

Written by: TL on 01/08/2010 23:53:36

While most of the world have probably not heard much of Young Guns (yet!), DR informs me that their singles are currently flooding the rock channels of the UK while the band is gaining popularity fast enough to make half their countrymen sick of them before they even know them properly. Either this is an example of what we in Denmark know as "The Volbeat Effect", or it is further proof that the good DR will only tolerate any mainstream in his rock, if there's a pretty female singer involved. Fortunately for Young Guns, it's not like they can really be accused of selling out an underground reputation, because this shameless alterna-rock assault on the mainstream of theirs, is riding entirely on the back of their first ever LP, the record under review here: "All Our Kings Are Dead"

As you might expect from a break-out band trying to carve out an existance in the public's eye, Young Guns' have filled their debút album with a parade of singles cut on a fairly predictable formula, with mega-catchy choruses and fist-pumping moments lining up to sweep even casual rock fans off their feet. That much you have heard before unless you're a complete rock newbie, and the question merely is if Young Guns have the class and charisma to compete with established perpetrators of such an approach, such as Rise Against, Lostprophets, 30 Seconds To Mars and so on.

First off, if you're going to hack it in the mainstream, you better have a good singer, and fortunately for YG, they have an excellent one in frontman Gustav Wood - One so versatile, I feel it worth spending an entire paragraph on him. You see Gustav really throws his pipes around over the course of this album. His base is a dark baritone not unlike that of Ville Valo (HIM - see "Weight Of The World"), but he can easily raise to a croon alá that of Bono (U2 - see "Meter And Verse") or rough up his delivery like Tim McIlrath (Rise Against - see "Crystal Clear"). To top things off, in a song like "Elements", his high register even compares to those of Dallas Green and Dustin Kensrue.

Such a tool box comes in handy when you're taking center stage most of the time, but it's not all YG have in their arsenal, because both in terms of writing and production, things have been kept remarkably and unusually classy. Especially the rhythm section packs a mighty punch for such an accessible record, and it keeps the lofty anthems grounded very well. Add to this that YG have not hidden their heavier influences, with "Elements" again serving as the example, being composed essentially of a dynamic between a rumbling breakdown and melodic build-ups and choruses that seems inspired by some of Alexisonfire's more tranquil moments.

And in fact, it's in songs that, like "Elements", are saved for the latter part of the album, that YG show the most potential. Anyone can listen to tracks one, two and four, "Sons Of Apathy", "Crystal Clear" and "Weight Of The World", hearing the blatant single material and enjoying the quality of how those are pulled of - Anyone can recognize the hit-quality of "Winter's Kiss" as they hate themselves while reluctantly singing along to its annoyingly catchy chorus - But it's in the curveballs YG throw towards the end that they reveal that their singles are only the topping on the cake. That's why the "Download" section below here will list songs such as "After The War", which reaches up towards 30STM and Fightstar with immaculate vocals and classy string arrangements - Or "Endless Grey" which is a complete barnstormer, featuring more great rhythmic work, heavier on the bass pedal than you would expect, and with guitar melodies that will have you reaching for your air guitar.

Taking a view from the top, "All Our Kings Are Dead" features a band with a remarkably strong identity, four or five super-good, straight-forward rock-hits, four or five really great songs, and two or three songs you could consider "just solid". How's that for a band on their debút LP? If this band can keep in touch with their roots, and if they can survive over-exposure, I say they could be ones to watch for the future. Right now, they're merely one of my favourite new arrivals of the year so far. Oh, and did I mention they are on their own personal label? Pretty fuckin' cool.

Download: After The War, Endless Grey, Meter & Verse
For The Fans Of: Rise Against, Lostprophets, 30 Seconds To Mars, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Listen: myspace.com/youngguns

Release Date 21.06.2010
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