Youth Man – ‘Five Songs’ EP review

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New Alcopop! signings Youth Man (formerly on Venn) are set to release their simply titled ‘Five Songs’ EP on 29 June. Written while touring across Europe with Trash Talk last year, the Birmingham duo of Kaila Whyte and Marcus Perks say the five songs are ‘about cabin fever and fatigue and intoxication and stuff’ and how each of them is ‘either about being drunk ill, sad or pissed off. Because 2017 sucked.’

The arty opening of ‘Mainland’ shows the band are moving away from their punkier sound and into something more expansive. It’s almost operatic in its first 30 seconds and then a big, dirty bass sound joins the mix as Kaila sings ‘I didn’t want to do it but I had to do it’ over a heavy riff. There’s a macabre side to the lyrics as she then goes on to say how she’s ‘drunk on destruction’ and how ‘a hundred fingers stabbed me as a dozen hands grabbed me by the shoulders and the scruff of the neck’. The more melodic side of the band comes to the fore on ‘Valley Girl’ which has reminded us of grungier versions of their Birmingham cohorts Johnny Foreigner or even Black Peaks. It’s a huge explosion of noise, frantic shouting, ferocious drums and happy handclaps.

‘Constantly’ is 100 seconds of pure anger with the repeated mantra of ‘Constantly grinding my gears’ while ‘I Don’t Know’ has some alluring riffs and worrying lyrics about people peering through Kaila’s window at night. It finishes with Kaila admitting ‘I don’t know how to love’ and then an unexpected – but rather brilliant – blast of choral singing. ‘Statuesque’, the closing song on the EP, is not a Sleeper cover but instead a powerful and passionate piece with stop-start guitar and fuzzy vocals. It’s fine end to a fantastic five songs.

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