Young and Heartless are a quartet from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who over the last five years have been slowly building a reputation for quality indie rock with an edge. Honed by hardcore touring across North America, they have solidified into an intriguing proposition and despite lacking some of the raw power of last year’s ’Pull of Gravity’, ’Stay Away’ makes for an atmospheric listen.
It’s a promising up-tempo start in the richly textured ‘Fevers’; a quality slice of indie-rock with a touch of dark pop between the lines giving it a downbeat air, which sets out the vibe for what is to come. ‘Noise Creep’ follows with a more measured approach but is equally reflective, yet there is an ever-increasing sense of melancholy as the album progresses through the atmospheric melodies of ‘Stay Away’ and the intense ‘Bad Brain’, culminating in forlorn piano on ‘Misery on Misery’ and the wistful strumming of ‘Fall’, by which time it’s in a bit of a lull.
Things improve with the upbeat ‘Nightwalking’ and the laid-back emotions of ‘Punch Drunk’, which adds good depth to the music and just enough of a commercial edge to have widespread appeal. However, they revert to wistful longing on ‘Heaven Nights’ which, despite building in intensity, fails to put an emotional edge to the vocal and highlights the loss of the rawness of previous releases.
Even so, there is plenty to like about ’Stay Away’, especially tracks like closer ‘Kids’, which is a particularly good mid-tempo slice of understated nostalgic longing, and on the whole it is an enjoyable record, it just feels liked they’ve rounded off one rough edge too many.
‘Stay Away’ by Young and Heartless is released on 25th March on Hopeless Records
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)