It’s been 40 years since the punk movement began, so it’s great to see a band like Youth Man keeping that spirit alive. I mean, a band that can waltz into the studio one night and bang out 5 raucously rocking one-take tunes (live!) of slightly disjointed, scuzzy-sounding punk deserve a little respect.
These songs were all recorded with the intention of capturing the band’s live dynamic and succeed in doing just that; they’re not exactly hook-filled, radio-friendly sing-alongs, it’s more of a sweaty romp. In fact, it’s all pretty raucous from the word go, the rough-edged dirty riffing of ‘Sweet Apples’ opening in typically off-kilter fashion. We then get treated to the more angular riffing of ‘Fat Dead Elvis’ and the rapid fire vocals of the urgent ‘Pigs’ with its attacking riffs and rolling bass. As the images of bodies flying around a wrecking mosh pit spring to mind, you can almost smell the sweat.
‘Look: Wait’ is a minute of disjointed attacking fun but doesn’t really add much, acting more like a buffer to the monumental finale of ‘Painted Blue’, what a piece of work! Atmospheric guitars, punctuated beats and crooned vocals build in sinister fashion to a winning hook about the “Devil painted blue” who “can go fuck himself.” Kaila Whyte delivers a killer performance as the track gets ever more intense in a veritable tour de force of riffage and passionate vocals, talk about raw power.
They won’t be winning any prizes for virtuoso musicianship, but that’s not what this record is about – what you get here is the visceral punk spirit alive, kicking and sounding fresh for the 21st century.
‘Wax’ EP by Youth Man is out now on Venn Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)