Think of timeless American rock-the authentic sound of guitar worshiping heroes from a golden generation which has stood the test of time. Now, hold that thought…
If music reflects life, then it must evolve as such. The Young are an established Texas rock outfit who infuse their own brand onto the inspiration they take from the likes of ZZ Top, Dead Moon and Lungfish. They represent those power chords and steely guitar riffs whilst creating their own unique blend of power and melody.
Chrome Cactus is the follow on to 2012’s Dub Egg. Produced by Tim Green, the album is a thrilling extension to their long standing theme and the perfect illustration of the band’s edgy and energetic values.
Examining the ten track play list, one may be forgiven for conjuring certain preconceptions. Titles such as Apache’s Throat, Slow Death and Blow The Scum Away will lead to automatic assumptions-that familiar involuntary lean into a certain direction. And most of the time that instinct will be correct-sometimes it won’t.
Sometimes we stumble upon a refreshing curveball that’ll catch us somewhat off-guard. We may not always be able to put our finger on the specific ingredient which sets a track apart, and let’s be honest-it’s seldom worth pondering for too long, after all, the track is still playing, right?
But, Chrome Cactus illustrates my little point rather well…..
Metal Flake is a powerful opening. The perfect announcement that The Young are back with a new album. Strength in chords is the order of the day, pulsing guitar riffs entwined with heavy percussion and all offset superbly by a vocal which is melodic and surprisingly hushed-and there’s the curveball (for me at least).
My preconceptions were in overdrive before I’d even heard a note. Once that intro kicked in they were heightened. I fully expected one of those high-pitched, screeching vocals which enters through your ears and leaves abruptly through your socks. Thankfully, I was wrong.
The vocal is almost melancholic. It swirls and delivers some pretty heavy lyrics in a way which perhaps we may not be accustomed to. Metal Flake unfolds to become the perfect signature sound for The Young. A mixed bag or a unique blend, term it as you will, because put simply, it just works. Powerful yet welcoming.
Cry Of Tin follows hot on the heels of the opening track. Here we discover a classy, bassy intro, becoming engulfed as it flows by that timeless American guitar sound. Once again that steely percussion kicks in providing the perfect accompaniment to that distinct vocal and those oh so cool guitar strains. And now we have a theme.
But of course, the theme has been there from day one, right back to Dub Egg and beyond. What we now hear is that aforementioned evolution of a sound which hit its peak way back when. And if this is a sound which can trace its roots back to ZZ Top and co, The Young add what may be described as a certain refinement to a genre which has outgrown it’s ‘noisy’, power chord based label.
The album ends with Blow The Scum Away. It’s the perfect blend of power, steel, percussion and melody and brings the curtain down on what is a truly well balanced album.
Chrome Cactus is set for release on August 25th on Matador Records.