Young Guns


Written by: TL on 30/10/2016 15:30:48

If you want to make a living as a producer, here's a tip: Try to become the guy record labels call when they need someone to 'dress a corpse'. If music is at least tight, obviously melodious and fairly simple, it's hard for it to not be somewhat enjoyable, especially if shined up with production techniques that are modern at the time, so it figures there's always going to be work for someone who's known to do a spotless job and who has a professional attitude about applying his touch to material that isn't exactly inspiring.

Speaking of which... England's Young Guns - the questionably named quintet who originally debuted with some energetic and dark-tinted stadium rock that showed som promise - they have a fourth album out, "Echoes", and well, it's bad. Or more precisely, it's really average but has a top notch sheen and mix to it, courtesy of David Bendeth, whose Wikipedia page lists more modern rock records with his name on than you can shake a stick at. Well done David. Money well earned.

As for Young Guns, a band who once wrote such driven and engaging tunes as "Endless Grey" and "Brother In Arms", their writing on this one has the dispassionate, formulaic feel of capable musicians that have grown up and gotten more interested in something else. Eleven tracks in only 37 minutes speaks for itself: There are no compositional shenanigans of interest here, not even some mood-setting intros or anything. The songs here set off immediately into basic ABAB structures and all head straight to copious amounts of chorus repetition. A pseudo-recognisable riff, a verse of no consequence, chorus, chorus, chorus, rinse, repeat.

The band obviously has been concerned mainly with common catchiness and with racking up those repeat plays on streaming services, and well, it's hard to argue they haven't gotten it done. Melodies like the ones in "Careful What You Wish For" and "Mercury In Retrograde" are infectious in that all too typical way, with a sprinkling of traditional response calls for emphasis, and some peripheric synth work to feign an interest in being more than a clear cut radio rock act.

While a song like "Mad World" has a dash of that AFI-ishness that once made you hope YG were on to something interesting, most of the record proves to have no depth whatsoever once you scratch the surface. Singer Gus Wood, a man with an otherwise characteristic voice with capacity for both depth and frailty, sings in that almost constantly over-strained "I'm in a rock band that forgot to mature" kind of way, which is borderline tiresome to listen to if you try to pay the album any real attention. Meanwhile, the lyrics are riddled with clichés or wordplays of the sort you find on the walls of toilet stalls. "Careful what you wish for, too much of heaven can hurt like hell" ? Come on, man.

Long story short, "Echoes" is the kind of record that happens when a band is its members all in career choice, and when the well of inspiration is suffering from a dry spell. Where less successful- or more niche bands can simply fade from the limelight and not release anything for a while if they're not feeling creative, obvious career bands like Young Guns are dependent on seeming like they're always moving forward, despite the fact that they're obviously treading water and getting nowhere. Then they bring in a pro like David Bendeth to make a record that's catchy, yet has nothing else going for it. It's boring and utterly pointless for any serious music fan to listen to, but full-time musicians have to eat too, right?

Download: Mercury In Retrograde, Afterglow, Mad World
For The Fans Of: You Me At Six, Mallory Knox, Kids In Glass Houses

Release date 16.09.2016
Wind-up / Concord

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