ARTIST: YOUNG CULTURE
TITLE: (THIS IS) HEAVEN
LABEL: RUDE RECORDS/EQUAL VISION RECORDS
WORDS: JAMES HALL
It would be naive to simply file this EP under generic pop punk. Young Culture of Albany, New York are not your average band, and are pushing the boundaries of the genre. ‘(This is) Heaven’ is another hip-hop style mixtape, in a similar vein to 2017’s ‘Blue’, the follow-up to debut mini-album ‘You’, released in the summer of 2016. There is a clear progression in their sound and it is EPs like this that are keeping the band’s creative juices flowing.
Every track on the album on the record is unique. That is testament to attitude and song writing ability of vocalist, Alex Magnan and guitarist Gabe Pietrafasa, which displays a maturity beyond their years.
“Young Culture are not your average band, and are pushing the boundaries of the genre.”
Opener, ‘Deluxe‘, is dark and moody. Magnan’s emotional lyrics over a riff written by guitarist Troy Burchett in high school, coupled with a bridge that cuts deep, ensures tears for days: “Deceiving, misleading, I relapsed, but I’m healing”.
‘Breathe It In’ takes us right to the other end of the spectrum. It’s catchy. it’s groovy, it’s anthemic. According to Magnan a wake-up call for the modern age, to people who complain about everything and never doing anything to make a change in their lives. It’s a reminder to all of us that when life gets us down, it’s healthy to breathe in and remember all the good that we have and everything we have achieved.
’21 Days’ is the latest single and Magnan says: “Writing this song was a perfect opportunity to take a dark situation and make it into something beautiful. I guess you could say that’s the theme for the new EP, which is why we felt ’21 Days’ was a perfect song to release at this time.” The track is about the pain of a break up over the course of three weeks, hence the name, ’21 Days’. Co-produced by State Champs vocalist, Derek DiScanio and Sam Guaiana (Seaway, Coldfront), you can hear these influences with Young Culture’s own unique take on them. Opening line “Place me inside your closet with all the other things you’ll never touch when you start to get bored again,” will surely resonate with listeners setting the tone for a gut-wrenching pop punk song.
“Young Culture are capable of almost anything.”
‘Never Changed’ is a fine example of Young Culture’s versatility and isn’t your typical acoustic ballad. A love song at its core it resonates as a story about falling in love with a girl who has changed further down the line in the relationship. Born out of a hotel room in Toronto, this track incorporates the influences of everyone in the band.
The EP closes with ‘Drift’, the first single released off the record. It’s raw and full of emotion and ties the themes together of the album; being able to take a bad situation and turn it into something beautiful. As a whole, ‘(This Is) Heaven’ shows that Young Culture are capable of almost anything. Whatever direction they decide to go in, whether it be a full length or another mix tape, we can’t wait.