If you read our review on Taking Back Sunday's newest record from the other day, you'll know my opinions of alternative rock, and what it should be. Things get boring when bands don't try and push the boundaries of a genre that's admittedly oversaturated with artists that have the same sound.
There are plenty of great bands who do something different and memorable with their music, though. Some make statements, while others bring in new elements from elsewhere. Lots of bands have brought in influence from electronica, and it's becoming hard to do it well. Young Guns nailed the electronic rock sound on their new album, Echoes, though!
The album's blend of electronica and alternative rock is some of the best the genre has seen in awhile. 'Mad World' is perhaps the pinnacle of this on the album. The song's massive atmosphere is the result of cavernous, stadium-filling drums and an electrifying guitar riff that open the song, leading into the immense choruses with huge power in them.
Another moment that exhibits some great power is 'Bulletproof', the album's opening track. It immediately becomes clear that vocalist Gustav Wood has one of the best voices in alt. rock; the perfect amount of strength, smoothness, and raspiness make his voice an important of the band's sound. His range is also pretty impressive, considering the beginning track alone. The great guitar of 'Bulletproof' gives way to the synth intro of title track 'Echoes', which is pure alternative rock with its simple verses and big choruses. It even has that poetic writing style to it, most notably the line "You're beautiful when you decay" in the choruses.
With all its great moments, there are still a few dull ones. The center of the album is where the real electronic meat comes in, and some tracks are pretty standard. We get Starset vibes in 'Awakening' and some great, empowering gang vocals, but other than that the music feels pretty standard, like we've heard it all before. 'Living In A Dream Is So Easy' is completely standard without much else to offer. They also attempted to end the album on some slower tracks - three, which is far too many, and with not enough to offer. Starting the trifecta with 'Mercury In Retrograde', it gets off on a sweet start, but an underwhelming start all the same. The following songs are pretty average and don't offer much, ending the album off on a weak note.
Echoes is a good album, but not great. It shows that Young Guns has a lot of potential, and four albums into their career you know they're posing a threat to their competition. Their sound keeps getting stronger, but it's not quite at a point where it could be truly something fascinating. Maybe their next record will be the one that changes things.
Favorite Tracks: Mad World, Bulletproof, Echoes
Least Favorite Tracks: Living In A Dream Is So Easy, Mercury In Retrograde
Rating: 75 / 100