ALBUM: Young Guns – Ones And Zeros

Release Date: June 8th 2015
Label: Virgin EMI/Wind-Up Records


Following a generally well received record in ‘Bones’ back in 2012, UK bred rockers Young Guns began to take on the world (and, more specifically, the United States too). A Billboard number one single and a handpicked theme song for WWE Wrestlemania, things only looked up for the young High Wycombe alt rock outfit.

The most successful aspect of ‘Bones’ was how grandiose it was in comparison to its predecessor. Young Guns were writing tracks that were accessible and catchy, but in a way which didn’t diminish or dumb down their sound as many pop-rock bands of today do. It’s sometimes very easy to cater your sound to the lowest common denominator when trying to write a huge sound. But, evidently, ‘Bones’ was a success and opened up the band’s audience.

In what is now the band’s third full-length, ‘Ones And Zeros’, Young Guns could have taken the next step. It was an opportunity to pick up on those teething issues that were found in certain areas on ‘Bones’. It was an opportunity to take what seemed to be a sudden change, and smooth it out and clarify where the band goes from here.

And, for a moment, it seemed that was exactly what they were doing. ‘Rising Up’ brings the colossal guitars that served the ‘Bones’ title-track so well. You can even picture the band entertaining an audience of thousands with it as vocalist Gustav Wood sings, “Give it to, give it to me”. The lead single, ‘I Want Out’, then picks up where the opener left off and implements the simple, yet effective, songwriting technique that Young Guns have come to master.

Then it becomes evident that the record is about to go in different directions. ‘Memento Mori’ offers heavy bass lines and a somewhat forced dance rhythm, while ‘Daylight’ tries to recapture the enormity of the earlier part of the record. Things begin to become somewhat confused in a sea of heavy bass lines and clichéd pop-rock throwaways.

It’s as though the band carried their previous sound over and then became curious by a new way of doing things halfway through the writing process. Perhaps this record is another teething process for a band which is still young. But, it’s difficult not to feel disappointed after the success of what came before.

Written by Calvin Robinson (@CalvParty)

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