For those who have been following the career of Light You Up (formerly known as LYU) then you’ll know the Birmingham group have paid their dues, toured relentlessly and released the occasional EP. Now with an abundance of UK pop punk bands fighting for attention and aiming to follow in the foot steps of acts like Neck Deep, Light You Up have made good use of their experience by producing a debut that goes beyond your stereotypical pop punk record.
‘All We’ve Ever Known’ sees Light You Up stepping things up and making a statement of intent. From the outset songs like ‘Breathe’ and ‘It’s About Time’ have a purpose and thrives off the bands radiant energy. Sure they’re “pop punk” at the core but their delivery is edgier with Tom Napier’s vocals coming off as raspy, whilst the guitars have a crunching tone but avoids the band going down the “moshcore” route.
Lyrically the band has matured with songs such as ‘Good Days’ and ‘Haven’t You Heard’ showing the bands more reflective side yet musically retaining their pop punk bite. Whereas ‘Monsters’ and ‘Brother’ allows the band to flex their radio-friendly muscle to great effect. On both tracks they deliver larger-than-life choruses that prosper whilst Napier confidently shows his ability to take centre stage.
Whilst Light You Up have grown in leaps and bounds on here, the inclusion of ‘Foxfires’ is a well-timed reminder of where they’re come from and is reminiscent of bands such as The Starting Line. A Loss For Word‘s Matt Arsenault also makes a strong, noteworthy cameo on the track.
By the time you get to ‘You Are Waiting For A Train’, its somewhat a relief to hear the acoustic led number. In comparison to the a majority of the album, its sombre approach matches the lyrical theme. Nevertheless the bands ability to produce an anthemic chorus is still intact on the track, but we’re not complaining. If anything it pinpoints the fact that this album has a heart and a conscious.
Being pigeonholed as a pop punk band is never an easy task to defeat, and whilst Light You Up may have not reinvented the genre on ‘All We’ve Ever Known’, they have certainly embraced elements of it. From start to finish, it is a record that consistently delivers fantastic choruses to the point you end up playing the record helplessly on repeat. It’s a credit to Light You Up that they’ve stuck to their guns and not followed any current trends. ‘All We’ve Ever Known’ sees a band with their feet on the ground, being reflective yet at the same time showing growth. In terms of UK pop punk for the coming year, Light You Up have set the bar high.
‘All We’ve Ever Known’ by Light You Up is released on 26th January through Reclaim Music Group/Ice Grills.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)