Monday 20 April 2020

Young Lust - Alright (2020)

Country: Mexico
Style: Hard Rock
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 10 Apr 2020
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Given that they released Alright as a single a couple of years ago, it's odd to see Young Lust have it lead off such a short album in 2020. I presume the last two years carry some history for the band but I have no idea what that might be. Whatever the reasons, this album features only seven tracks and so runs three minutes shorter than Reign in Blood, my go to yardstick for short albums.

Alright forgives some of that by being such a lively single. It, like Young Lust generally, is hard rock with a hint of sleaze, and it strongly reminds of early Girlschool, just with different accents on the vocals. The band are from Monterrey in Mexico, a couple of hours from the Texas border, although they sing in English. Perhaps not coincidentally, they would also be an all female band, if not for the presence of Peter Reyes on lead guitar.

He's good and his and Mayra Benavides's guitars are a good reason why songs like Alright and Tennessee are so bouncy. The jaunty beats of Alo Gzz are an important factor too and it's telling that the less jaunty she gets, the less interesting the song becomes. Prayer in Vain really drags, for instance, but the very moment her cymbals and Caro Lara's bass start in on Tennessee, we find ourselves already perked right back up again.

The focal point for this band, though, is Mavi Azul, whose name hints at an influence from the Runaways too, which makes sense given the way the chorus on Alright sounds, though this is generally rooted in early eighties NWOBHM far more than seventies glam rock. They also feel more like a band, whatever gender its members are, than a product manufactured with sex appeal. Azul's vocals are more nasal than those of Kim McAuliffe, or Cherie Currie for that matter, but they sound good anyway, especially on those more up tempo songs.

And that's the big lesson here. When Young Lust try to be a commercial hard rock band livening up a small club after the previous band let the audience down, they're more than up to the task. I'd certainly be down the front for adrenaline shots like Alright and Tennessee and I'd hang around for some of the other lively songs too, like Until I Find My Revenge and Let Me See You too. Rebel Heart really gets going halfway through and blisters like nothing else here. An album full of songs like these would be a lot of fun.

However, when Young Lust ditch the party vibe and try to be serious, like on Prayer in Vain, the mood vanishes completely. They just aren't that sort of band and I hope they're not seeing this song as the heart of the album. As a line at the beginning of Rebel Heart goes, "Sometimes you have to go crazy to remember who you really are." That's good advice for this band, because a song like Prayer in Vain turns them into that previous band on the club bill who let the audience down and needed Young Lust to liven things back up.

And here's where I'd talk about the second half of the album, but there just isn't one. I hope the band are treating this as a generous mini-album and a full length studio effort will come later. After all, with the exception of the one down track, the worst thing about this is the fact that it wraps up so quickly. In a way, that's a compliment as much a criticism. I hope I get to hear more from this band soon.

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