Young Adults – “Black Hole” (2010)

December 20, 2013 at 12:22 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

This review of “ambient punk” band Young Adults comes from the Sputnik Music website, dated Nov. 8, 2010 and written by Kyle Robinson. Check this band out on their website…

Dig out you plaid shirts, because Boston’s Young Adults are rocketing indie rock back to its roots.

Do you like your music loud? Are you tired of ironic bearded guys who are more interested in incorporating the xylophone into their three-cord twee-folk songs than anything resembling actual rock? Do you like gigantic guitar riffs that charge with the intensity of a jet engine in flames and scraggly half-shouted vocals riding on a wave of primal drum thunder? If so, then Boston’s Young Adults probably are just the band you’ve been looking for.

Harkening back to the early days of indie, when the word referred to angry shouting guys in plaid who played busted-up Fender guitars into redlining amps rather than music-magazine approved trendie rock topped off by glossy band members with $200 haircuts, Young Adults offer a rollicking debut that practically steamrolls other recent lo-fi artists. While Young Adults aren’t the first band in the past few years to turn back the clock, they offer some of the overall tightest songwriting of any such artists, backing up their walls of noise with great hooks and melodies.

After the brief opener Reverie, the band kicks into high gear with ‘Let Us Out,’ which establishes much of the sound that dominates the record.  Kurt Villon’s thundering drums rule the song while Chris Villon’s thick, shoegaze guitar creates a strong atmosphere. Despite consisting of only three members, Young Adults sound absolutely huge, making the most of their instruments as Demitri Swan covers the low end with his throbbing, distorted basslines. But beneath the noise lies a strong songcraft, unlike many fellow shoegazers.

The band’s songs conjure up the usual suspects – My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Pixies, No Age. But it’s the unexpected influence of Japanese indie legends Number Girl that helps the band to transcend other lo-fi peers.  The drumming of ‘Wasting Time’ is a dead ringer for Ahito Inazawa, and the melodic guitar leads sound like something Hisako Tabuchi or Chiemi Ishimoto would play. Young Adults strike a terrific balance between noise and melody, never quite succumbing to either and end up emerging a stronger band as a result.

Rather than charge at full speed for the entirety of the album’s 37 minutes, Young Adults prove adept at a variety of tempos and rhythms to make the album more varied than its fuzzy nature might suggest. The brief ‘Rip It Up’ rides on a Number Girl-esque wave of rhythmic fury with a dash of surf, while ‘Impression’ is a fist-pumping punk anthem. ‘Over The Edge’ is a more discordant track that evokes the gritty post-hardcore of Fugazi, adapted to the band’s power trio shoegaze milieu. ‘Life Under Review’ carries a sort of angsty desperation that clashes effectively with the predominantly upbeat material elsewhere on the album and sounds almost like a more melodic take on A Place to Bury Strangers’ sound.

The strongest cut, ‘Annulation,” is a blistering tune in which the members achieve perfect synergy to create a powerful and focused sonic blitz.  The warm-sounding ‘Bummer Summer’ shows that the ambiguity of shoegaze sounds just as goood, if not better, at high tempo. ‘Drifting’ has some of the album’s best guitar playing, alternating between melodic leads and noise blasts, while ‘Campfires’ brings the album to a good finish with its strong hooks. Like their name suggests, Young Adults’ music effectively captures the euphoria of youth as well as the ambiguity and confusion that come along with it. As good an album as their debut is, it’s the work of a young band with a whole world of potential available to them. For now, though, they offer a great soundtrack to putting your worries aside and basking in the glow of youth.

Kyle Robinson


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