Friday, October 19, 2012

Young Rival: "Stay Young" (album review)

Sick and tired of over-earnest rock bands that have forgotten how to have fun and how to entertain the listener?  Me too.  Enter Hamilton's Young Rival.  They've got a prescription for what ails you in the form of their new full length Stay Young (out October 23rd).

Melody and guitars are the forte of this trio.  They open up with the irresistible "Black Popcorn", a power pop gem that would make Big Star green with envy.  The opening riff of "I Don't Care" sounds like a reworking and modernization of "Here Comes Your Man".

The band have a solid grasp on lyrics as well.  They pen an incredibly clever song like "Two Reasons", yet manage to take it and disguise it as a fluffy bubblegum pop number.  That takes some skill.

Young Rival do get moodier from time-to-time.  The guitar sound on "Let It Go" casts a shadow over that song.  There's a storm brewing on "Lost" that culminates in a delightful clash of guitar and percussion.

It's not all pure garage rock.  There's a hint of '60s vocal pop influence on the careening jangler "Black Is Good".  A country rhythm saunters beneath the guitars on "Better Things To Do".

Melodic guitar rock seems to have been on the wane in recent years.  Young Rival may just have created the most refreshing take on the style since The Strokes' This Is It.

Young Rival play the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on November 22nd.

Best tracks: "Black Popcorn", "Black Is Good"

Track listing for Stay Young:
  • Black Popcorn
  • Nothing You Know Well
  • Let It Go
  • I Don't Care
  • Black Is Good
  • Two Reasons
  • Better Things To Do
  • Lost
  • Valerie
  • Night Song

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