It was a testament to my feeling of absolute ecstasy I finished listening to ‘Echoes’, on the way home from university, with barely any voice left. I am pleased to say it is phenomenal.
I would finish the review there, as I feel it requires no words to capture its brilliance, but the way of these things precludes me from doing so, and I will gladly proceed.
Even the cover of ‘Echoes’ is entrancing: A swirl of cosmic waves, black and white, appearing like the heaves of the ocean, capturing something key in this band.
Young Guns have the fortune of being headed by Gustav Wood, whose voice rises and falls, ebbs and flows, and suddenly crashes down in awe-inspiring fashion and incredible grace.
Young Guns’ first two albums – ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’ (AOKAD), and ‘Bones’ – resonated deep with me, capturing that feeling of rushing blood, pounding heartbeat and earthly richness that penetrates into one’s very core.
If that was the first two albums, ‘Ones and Zeroes’ was more of a light touch on the skin; it did not have that same brooding and thundering feeling of its predecessors, and Wood’s head notes just seemed to pepper the entire album like shrapnel.
‘Echoes’ on the other hand. That is a different story.
Young Guns have brought themselves straight back to their essence, their bass and drum-heavy choruses, accompanied by Wood’s growling voice that soars towards the chorus and surprises you with quick hikes in pitch that sound like a call to arms.
A song which perfectly captures each of these elements is ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, with Simon Mitchell’s scintillating bass work and the Taylor brothers’ exquisite partnership and fills.
What is especially nice in ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ is John Taylor’s cheeky guitar solo, something Young Guns often forgo.
Opening with ‘Bulletproof‘, the new album explores what Gustav Wood described in a recent interview.
He said: [The title track ‘Echoes’] captures the feel and sentiment behind the whole album, reflecting on how tempting it can be to revisit memories of times gone by in a bid to keep that part of your life alive, but facing up to the fact that eventually you have to let things go and move on.”
My favourite track from the whole album has to be ‘Mad World‘. If this album is anything it is apposite. Its swelling sound and immense drops hit you in the face, and ‘Mad World’ brings that feeling to a head in title and theme.
As the world continues to seem broken and chaotic, ‘Mad World’ catches that sense as does ‘Paradise’ in more melancholic sentiment towards the end of the album, and is reflected in the music video.
‘Mad World’ is shouty and powerful, and leaves no stone unturned for the listener; it throws you in the air, and makes you shout at the world in front of you.
At just 38 minutes total it is the Buckinghamshire boys’ shortest record, second to ‘Ones and Zeroes’.
Hopefully this trend does not continue, and they grace us with extended periods of time with their music, but, for now, I will take it. Quality over quantity, after all.
Hopefully this album will move Young Guns’ Wikipedia entry above the 1988 western movie of the same name.