While no explanation for the initialisation of ‘B.R.A.V.E.’’s title is clear, the ultimate goal of Retro Youth is less of a mystery. Fitting into a grouping of bands that can’t be classified as anything more specific than “rock”. Their radio-ready, pop-tinged tendencies suggest dreams of The 1975 levels of mainstream stardom.
Having formed as recently as March 2015, Retro Youth’s sound most obviously draws comparisons to an early Don Broco – crisp, funk-tinged guitars offset by a meaty rhythm section and sizable choruses. Kris J Davies’s drawl is straight out of the Mike Duce school of melting teenage hearts, and it impresses on the swaggering, sexy ‘Love The Monster’.
Lyrical bores on ‘F.I.N.E.’ (“I’m falling in love with you, somebody tell me what to do”) are quickly forgotten thanks to the quality of the song’s brief but wonderful bridge, while subtle layering of guitars and keyboards on ‘The Lost And Found’ makes for an emphatic high point.
Perhaps the most “B.R.A.V.E.” move on the album is placing three of the best tracks at its end. ‘Smile’ and ‘Bruises’ are surely dead certs for single release with choruses fit for festival fields. While ‘A Long Time Coming’ is a rapid-fire closer built on licks reminiscent of when Alex Turner used to be fun.
It almost seems too easy for Retro Youth. Although drawing from a wide range of influences, it is clear exactly the kind of band they want to be. Yet at times, it seems as if they are already doing it better than those at the top. ‘Let It Burn’ could be Royal Blood – with better guitar solos. The title track could be The 1975’s ‘Chocolate’ – but less pretentious. At once easily identified and undefinable, ‘B.R.A.V.E.’ is a rampant debut.
‘B.R.A.V.E.’ by Retro Youth is released on February 3rd.
Words by Peter Stewart (@PeteStew_)