Bursting with meaningful rage that the light-hearted listener with specific musical taste may find obtuse, Birmingham trio Youth Man are releasing their new, absorbing and intense EP ‘Hill of Knives’ on 27th of April. As with their debut EP, Bad Weather, the band have put in five tracks spanning themes from Western hypocrisy, isolation and tyranny. For so few tracks, this large variety of topics is pleasantly surprising and kept my close attention from start to finish. Thoroughly exciting, Kaila Whyte’s fierce vocals and smack-in-the-face lyrics will drill into your mind and lay there for quite some while after listening.
It would be a travesty if ‘Hill of Knives’ does not make a shock-wave in the genre of punk when released. There are few bands in the genre that have brought such interest, something so new to the table; they aren’t afraid to lay their cards face up and challenge people to listen to something which they aren’t used to. This says a lot about the pride of which the trio hold over their musical vision and I have nothing but the utmost respect to them for following this creed. They refuse to go along with the conformity that many bands in the music industry have resigned to in the modern day and they “believe in making honest music” which is all any of us can really ask for from an artist.
The tracks are punchy and addictive, tempting one to a few repeats of the EP. The first track, ‘Skin’ creates a great urge to jump up and tear apart everyone in a mosh pit. It is simply about the largest organ in the body (that’s your skin, science fans) and is 78 seconds of brutality, with drummer Marcus Perks erupting like a volcano of sound, quickly followed by Whyte’s fitting vocals and guitar and Miles Cocker’s Bass. The lyrics are short and simple but no more needs to be said other than “keep the inside inside, keep the outside out of me, water slides right off, so I pour my mouth instead. Skin.” We all have skin; we can all relate and let the song lead us into an exhilarating auditory assault. The other tracks like ‘Joy’ are just as brutal beginning with set intervals of bold strumming and drumming and then releasing a horrifying verse, “standing in a pool of cold blood, thinking of how hard it was to bite my tongue, watching my saliva run red” – it certainly maintains the shock value of the EP.
The rest of the release constitutes more unnerving music with overwhelmingly haunting tones on ‘Auto-De-Fe’ and the ecstatically manic ‘Dead Weight’ which keeps the listener on the edge of their seat, then finally bursting with whatever anger they have bottled up. Youth Man deserve high praise for this collection of tracks which leave a feeling of wondrous excitement over what’s to come in their hugely promising future.
– Sasha Hodes
Venue: Hill of Knives
Support Band: Self Release