Former Member

Old Youth

Written by: PP on 20/12/2018 06:35:52

Former Member is a two-person punk supergroup featuring Kid Dynamite/None More Black's Jason Shevchuk on guitar and vocals, and producer Will Yip on drums. It's an interesting combo and one that has led to a less explosive punk rock soundscape for Shevchuk than his other projects to date, an influence that no doubt comes from Yip and his various producing efforts to just about half of the scene.

"Old Youth" is their debut album and one which features neither the ballistic melodic hardcore of Kid Dynamite nor the Fat Wreck style punk of None More Black (at least not their early material). Instead, we're more in mid-tempo, brighter punk rock territory that you can fairly compare to I Am The Avalanche or The Movielife. The guitars are buzzing with melodies, but as a track like "Root Nodes" demonstrates, the songwriting is more ambitious than the pedal-to-the-floor approach of Shevchuk's former bands. That said, the raw, rough-around-the-edges nature of punk rock has been preserved enough to keep the soundscape intimate and believable, despite the added melodic fervor.

In that sense, it does have a lot in common with the last None More Black album "Icons", although primarily during the first half of the record which is fairly basic melodic punk rock without many surprises. The second half of the record, however, is where the songs begin to take unusual twists and turns for the genre, start slowing down, and experimenting with groove and other elements that separate from other Shevchuk material more clearly. "The Fall For Fergie Jenkins" is a great example: it's all over the place on the genre map, yet always circling back to straight-up punk rock chorus melodies to keep the target audience nodding along. That said, it's undoubtedly the most daring material Shevchuk has attempted during his acclaimed career thus far. Likewise, "First Threshold" sounds like it's borrowing from The Menzingers given its folksy, great American singer-songwriter song approach, and there's a lot of that on this half of the record. It's different, but it works.

Most importantly, "Old Youth" demonstrates that Shevchuk hasn't lost his knack for writing infectiously catchy vocal melodies over the years. His raw, scratchy singing style is instantly recognizable no matter the style, so it's great to hear it trialed in a slightly different format.


Download: Cold Open, Root Nodes, The Fall For Fergie Jenkins, Prospector
For the fans of: I Am The Avalanche, Kid Dynamite, The Movielife, None More Black
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 22.06.2018

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