EP Review: Youth Man – Five Songs EP
The brilliance of Siouxsie & The Banshees and the punky crunch of guitars via Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are combined perfectly to form Youth Man’s EP, Five Songs.
From the opening track of Five Songs, ‘Mainland’, you can tell Youth Men are an interesting band. It’s not three chord ‘fuck you’ punk. It’s experimental and arty powered by punk angst. The vocals follow a strange and painful riff that then comes in full volume with the drums like mortars dropping into a battle zone. There are changes of dynamics throughout concerning the timing and Youth Men utilize the ‘quiet/loud’ that are very Pixies-esque. Not only that, the instrumentation is intellectual and cleverly played. Lyrically, ‘Mainland’ is bizarre, but great none the less: ‘I was lost in a factory of wasps when the hearse of my dreams came for me’. this sets you up for the rest of the EP – and you won’t be disappointed.
‘Valley Girl’ is dirty, angry and grungy. It begins with a staccato guitar riff that sounds like Morse code for someone in danger. It’s like Bleach-eraNirvana, but the piano, despite its simplicity, adds more up tempo drive that Bleach may not offer. It’s brilliant.
Kaila sings in the same style as Frank Carter, and this is evident on ‘Constantly’. This track could have easily been placed on Orchestra of Wolves. Again, a grunge vibe comes through as Kaila screams like Kurt Cobain and the riff is reminiscent of Soundgarden. However, it’s maybe the most ‘traditionally punk’ track on the EP, clocking in at 1 minute 40 seconds.
The fourth track, ‘I Don’t Know’, is diverse as the instruments contrast against each other brilliantly in the verse. The chorus is straight forward and the dynamics between the guitars and drums are on point. The ‘ooh’s’ add a pop hook to the song. This track provides an interesting end as it fades out and Kaila is tormented by not knowing how to love. Surely, it’s something we’ve all wondered?
Youth Man close the EP the same way it began with ‘Statuesque’. It’s a slower track, compared to the rest, but no less filthy. The guitars are crunchy and satisfies any listeners need for cool riffs. The chorus is great, again returning to a grungy Kurt Cobain style.
Five Songs is a great EP. It will be interesting to see what they release in the future as they are dynamic and clever in the way they approach songwriting, and could potentially go in any direction in later releases.
Words by Matthew Brocklehurst