Review: Youth Man – Bad Weather [EP]

There are some that would look to pigeon hole this as Grunge Revival. Or something along those lines. However, after long and careful consideration, I think that the some that would say this can fuck off. Because this is, basically, brilliant.

This five-track EP from spiky Birmingham three-piece Youth Man undeniably takes a motherload of inspiration from that whole early nineties American Northwest sound – and, as it’s ballsy as hell female-fronted fare, you can hear the likes of Bikini Kill and the original [sic] Riot Grrrl thing clear as a bell. Opener Heavy Rain specifically owes a lot to Babes In Toyland at their Fontanelle-era peak – but I’m struggling to see why that is remotely a bad thing in an age such as ours where Robin Thicke is allowed to walk free in the streets. Not enough militancy these days, by far. But seriously. This is no throwback. This is a breath of pure fresh air.

Track 2 (Insipid) is a pokey, almost Rockabilly-like smack in the mouth. The last three tracks take the venerable LOUD / quiet / LOUD formula and throw it back with an intricacy and intent – and a dark lyrical intelligence. The girl up front has some serious lungs – her vocals alternately soaring with the guitars, wailing like a righteous banshee and then whispering with the minimalist refrains. It really is a joyous thing to hear a simple guitar/bass/drums combo make such a powerful mass of noise as you’ll find here.

And to dwell on the influences of something this febrile is to miss the whole goddam point. There’s not just Grunge in here anyway, if we’re being picky. As is the fusing nature of all modern “alternative” music, you also get flashes of Dischord (Dag Nasty, Slant 6) and the whole gamut of high end “Post Hardcore” – and other stuff that I can’t quite put my finger on. All of which gives this a look-you-straight-in-the-eye personality that is all of its own. The PR calls this “Afrocore”. I suspect this may be a Radkey reference and I’m not all to keen on the term, but I think it comes close. And who cares what name you stick on this.

Stop reading this drivel. And just buy or download this. Now.

5 out of 5 high fives!

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