New years and new starts is such an overused trope that it tends to produce an intense eye-roll from anyone who hears it. However Young Culture with their new EP (This is) Heaven, really are diving into 2019 with a galvanised enthusiasm from the New York natives.
By Katie Manning
Original members, vocalist Alex Mangan and guitarist Gabe Pietrafesa did the best thing possible for their careers by taking a break in 2018, and experimenting with their restless creativity. Inspired, they have truly ushered in a different age with the help of a second guitarist Troy Burchett, and drummer Nick Cavin. The added members are exactly what a band like this needed to produce the big sounds, and electrifying energy that is going to make them unmissable.
(This is) Heaven drops you straight into their new sound with Deluxe. The relentless guitar perfectly delivers the strong momentum of a classic pop/punk intro, and drives the rise and fall throughout the song that makes it such a belter. Big tracks like this and Drift supply the EP with the angsty anthems expected of the genre, but the influence of Young Culture’s musical ‘gap-year’ is so evident.
Production has been taken to a new level. Tracks like Breath It In mix hip/hop beats with exciting rifffs to make a much more refined but intersesting sound, without losing the epic guitar solos we love. And new single 21 Days plays brilliantly with distortions and instrumental breaks, perfectly showcasing the band.
Yet every song still holds as a foundation top-rate song writing, with the story telling of an early Paramore. Never Changed is a great example of this; breaking up the EP with a very unexpected yet masterful ballad. Mixing genres seems to be where Young Culture’s skill lies, and this dreamy pop track, while maybe a bit tweeny, is undeniably heart-breaking.
Pop/punk can be an oversaturated and formulaic style with many bands sounding like replicas of each other. But Young Culture have made something truly unique. The tracks nail the nostalgia of the 2000s, and make you remeber why you loved playing those Jimmy Eat World CD’s at max while simultaneously modernising the genre. A welcome move on as the fuzziness of Walkman’s is cast aside, and you can head-bang freely into the age of wireless headphones.
(This is) Heaven is available now.