Young Guns – Ones and Zeros – 08/06/15
Young Guns Rise Up With brand new album “Ones and Zeros” 3 years have past since we have had the privilege of listening to a fresh Young Guns album, and my God is it worth the wait. Bursting into the fray with ‘Rising Up’, a fierce track with a rousing chorus that would fuel a fire in the most timid of people. “We’re all alone, we’re all bastard sons. Been cast aside by the world above. We practice dark arts and open casket love” Gustav Wood’s opening proclamation provides us with confirmation his lyrical prowess remains thoroughly intact. A poet at heart but world class performer and rock prince to the world.
The album has a clear directional shift, nothing incredibly major. This is still Young Guns through and through. However, the added element of an 80’s electronic, somewhat Linkin Park vibe furnishes the album with brand new components that we haven’t quite experienced yet from the Buckinghamshire/London based boys. Moving through to ‘I Want Out’, the first release from this album back in 2014, we continue with the lyrical master-class from Gustav – “All we are is breath against the glass, just like the ashes of a fire fading fast”. His romanticised wordsmithing consistently adds a dynamic to the Young Guns artefact that many bands and musicians severely lack in today’s music scene. This combined with the immediately memorable riffs/melodies provided by John and Fraser Taylor on guitars allows for a sound that is essentially intellectual rock.
‘Infinity’ belongs behind a rousing montage, a relentless emotion stirring call that will convince anyone they’re capable. Something that always impresses me with Young Guns is the definition between songs. Each having its own identity and message, carefully crafted to issue a communiqué to the masses. The album has had me oozing with compliments. It’s tough not to when a band is firing on all cylinders in this manner.
Remember you’re mortal. We’re reminded we’re all human in ‘Memento Mori’ but not quite all of us have the privilege of being a mortal with the talent to fabricate a song that makes you want to lose control of your extremities. More electronic complexion is spread across the landscape of this record. It is more than welcomed. Singing feedback, and glistening harmonics partnered with a heartbeat bass. A solo voice reigning over the mix with expressions intrinsic to the Young Guns soul. ‘Lullaby’ is the 5th track on Young Guns 3rd studio album and persists to offer more to the spectrum of the record. Huge choral pronouncements of “We’re all lost anyway” ring true through the close of this track.
At times simplicity can speak volumes. This is the case in ‘Daylight’ with the chorus crafted from one line “All we need is daylight”. Somehow they have managed to create an album filled with songs that at any given point you would believe can’t be topped. A constant self-betterment contest seems to be the theme of the album. Trying to out-do themselves with every track – which they achieve, mind you.
‘Speaking In Tounges’ is easily my favourite on the album, it has everything you could ask for in a rock song: A memorable riff, gang vocals that beg for participation, lyrical individuality and the power of a thousand engines driving this forceful song into the stratosphere. It has to be said – the production of the album has to be admired. The amount of layers to each track is saturated but at the same time, it all fits. With a standard 4 piece instrumental set-up bolstered by the fresh-faced electronic element could, and has, been unsuccessful for bands. However, Young Guns have absolutely nailed it. As they have with the whole record to this point.
Into the second half of the album and I’m exhausted from the sheer excitement and enjoyment I’ve taken from listening so far. ‘Colour Blind’ feels like the remnants of Young Guns past, a welcome addition to the situation. Usually on the way out of an album it can be tough to remain interested and invested in the product. This has been far from the case in an album that has caused me so much stress from wanting to move onto the next song whilst having the urge to repeat the previous song. You could say that the ‘Gravity’ of the situation shouldn’t be overlooked… Sorry. An embraced change of pace in an album full of stand-alone songs.
‘Die On Time’ steps in with a mile eating stride, slow yet purposeful. Concerned yet commanding. Keys and strings ring considerately through the ballad demonstrating the range Young Guns have to boast. The song allows for breathing space within an album that is chock full of monumental songs.
The title track brings the album to a close with familiar fire pouring from the minds of a band that will be thrust into the rock royalty status following the release of this album.
This is without a doubt the best album I have heard this year. Gustav, Ben, Simon, John and Fraser are outdoing themselves with their best music yet. There are not enough superlatives to define the quality that pours from this record. Within that you can tell the painstaking effort that is in every song.
Ones and Zeros makes a 10 for me.