Young Guns attempt to let go of the past and move toward a brighter future with “Echoes”.
Last year Young Guns released an energetic and vibrant album titled Ones and Zeros that proved that the UK rockers had more flare than many people may have given credit. Now after spending 2016 on the road and working across the Unites State’s sweaty summer with Warped Tour, the band is releasing their fourth full album Echoes only 15 months after their previous release.
Young Guns success has been growing steadily over the years after successful tours across the world with bands like Breaking Benjamin and having their song Bones be the theme of Wrestlemania. And in a world where bands are made famous after one youtube mashup or American Idol audition, here is a band from the UK who did it all the old fashioned way of travelling the world and writing their OWN music. Where Ones and Zeros was more of an energetic and upbeat vibe, the new album Echoes feels a bit more serious and down to earth. In a quote taken from the band’s Instagram: “Echoes is about letting go of the past and moving on towards a brighter future—we’re ready and are a better, hungrier band than we’ve ever been before.”
That statement of letting go and moving on is reflected in many of the tracks on Echoes and you really feel a progression in style from the previous album to now. In Echoes, you hear a band who sounds more matured and reflective: a group of men who are climbing the next mountain. Even if it’s only been a short time since 2015, there is a more earnest attempt involved currently. From the opening song Bulletproof you are greeted with the familiar rhythm heavy sound from Young Guns and that style stays consistent through most of the album. It doesn’t so much kick the door down, but rather opens it and grabs your attention.
The first single from Echoes was meant to be a big anthem style rock song. While I’m not sure it falls into the category of something you can chant along with Queen style gives a strong rhythm and chorus thanks in part to the vocals of Gustav Wood. At just barely over three minutes the song doesn’t feel too short or too long, but it flows and sets the pace for the rest of the album well. As the track list goes on to other songs like Echoes and Careful What You Wish For, you understand what I said about a band who somehow feels more matured and reflective even though they are still fairly young. Lyrically it all feels deeper and the music is paced to flow rather than loud and furious. It’s a matter of preference of which style you prefer, but Young Guns prove they are capable of more than one speed.
As the album goes on you do feel a bit of a lull in the middle. After a song like Paranoid or Mad World you find you may be losing focus on what you are listening to, but are then picked right back up by song a song like Awakening or Mercury in Retrograde. The album never goes too long with the same song (most tracks in the three-and-a-half-minute range) and there is just a subtle change after a couple tracks to regain interest.
While there feels like a slow break in the center of the album, the beginning and end are definitely the strong points. Tracks like Mercury In Retrograde and Afterglow feel refreshing while still keeping the same overall flow as the majority of the album. Mercury In Retrograde especially has that feature of a well-paced rhythm and bassline that helps highlight the vocals and lets the chorus shine. Echoes was not what I was expecting after such an energetic and uplifting entry in 2015 and then hearing & seeing the band jam at Warped Tour in 2016. But while having the occasional dead space, there is still more than enough to become invested in the listening experience. It’s a different experience than many may expect, but it still can be satisfying if an open mind is kept going in.
Echoes is a fantastic example of an album that will grow on you. On first listen much of it may not sink in while going through the songs, but after repeated listens you’ll realize just how much there is to hear. I won’t say every song is the band at their best, but there are high moments that definitely make you realize just how talented this band is. Overall, Young Guns attempt at moving toward a brighter future is one that shows the band’s ability to become more mellowed and patient. It may not be the energetic and vibrant sound of last year, but long time Young Guns fans will still have enough to hold on to and enjoy in Echoes.