To quote the great folk punk rock troubadour Frank Turner, “there is no such thing as rock stars, there’s just people who play music, and some of them are just like us, and some of them are dicks”. The beauty in this is that Turner, in one contagiously singable phrase, is able to level the wasteland of rock royalty and ego and get to the heart of what rock truly is meant to be. What differentiates the two camps is the ability to put to melody the gauntlet of human emotion. One look at the current rock landscape and you are sure to find those whose only goal is to sell downloads and live the dubious rock and roll lifestyle. However, every now and again a band comes along that is able to be authentic while still creating guitar riffs that make your good sense violently fly out the window. Impassioned UK rockers Young Guns are able to do just this on their latest effort Ones and Zeros.
“When you’re writing an album you need to believe that you’re doing the most important thing in the world,” says rightfully confident frontman Gustav Wood. The attention to detail is evident in the eleven songs that make up what is sure to be a top rock album of the year contender for many. “Rising Up” is one hell of a way to start an album. A fierce electronic rock anthem, the tune is able to immediately draw the listener into their pulsing and relentless atmosphere of stadium sized riffs and shouts. The first few songs especially have the rare ability of requiring your best sing along efforts. It is simple, pure, and unadulterated arena engulfing sonic positivity. “I Want Out” is an ode to failed love in the life of excess. Chances are, you have already heard this one on the radio or through the speakers of your favorite bar. Complete with trembling AFI style vocals, this has the potential to be the song of the summer. I dare for you to listen without a few signature head-bangs and fist-pumps.
“Infinity” is seeking for a higher power in the style of 30 Seconds to Mars. While many current rock lyrics are shallow, this one is deep with symbolism and drunk with positive influence. The metaphors continue in “Memento Mori”, which has the band aggressively singing, “If you’re a fist I’m a windowpane” over a great bass groove. Another tune about fading love, the band obviously has great chemistry and is profited by some killer production.
“Daylight” is another sure to be hit that mixes their trademark optimism with soaring vocals and a guitar solo that would make Tom Morello blush. The music video is a great apocalyptic showcase of all the things the band does well. I want to dub this my favorite track on the album, but there are a handful of songs on Ones and Zeros that stir my soul in a way that makes it way too close to call.
It would be easy to knight Young Guns the next best thing in alternative rock and demand that you immediately pre-order the amazing bundle they have on their website (seriously, do it HERE), but I don’t want to tell you what you are sure to find out on your own. And if not, I am sure the rest of the world will inform you of their greatness when their new album drops on June 9th.
For fans of: authentic gut punching rock & roll, band chemistry, Linkin Park, soaring lyrics and relentless guitar riffs, living