ARTIST: YOUTH FOUNTAIN
TITLE: LETTERS TO OUR FORMER SELVES
LABEL: PURE NOISE RECORDS
WORDS: SOPHIA WATSON
Having signed to Pure Noise Records just last year, Canadian pop punk duo Youth Fountain are set to release their debut full length album ‘Letters To Our Former Selves’: an album that exudes a heartfelt spirit through stories of inner demons and heartache in all its different manifestations.
With this twelve track album the duo have managed to create a full bodied sound with harmonic vocals that oscillate between soft punk singing and audible screaming with a smooth tone – all without over powering each other. But, ‘Letters To Our Former Selves’ is much more than a simple pop punk album. Thematically it is an exploration of an adolescence consumed by chaos and confusion. Guitarist Tyler Zanon’s perhaps disturbingly honest lyrics aim to share moments and experiences of his life over the past decade ‘touching on topics about self-identity issues, isolation, relationships and mental health problems.’
The opening track ‘Helpless’, is a short intro to the album that utilizes a mix of group vocals that echo like a crowd, with sleek guitars and catchy drums that blend into the background. This song flows directly into the next track ‘Letters to Our Former Selves’, which enhances the angst ridden feeling as it opens with the vocal hook ‘where the fuck did you go?’. Their sound is perfectly layered, with all aspects in unison and harmony; this is particularly evident in song ‘Rose Coloured Glass’, where the nuances of each member’s voice is utilised to perfection as they sing with an ever-present pop punk vocal tone.
“exudes a heartfelt spirit through stories of inner demons and heartache”
The album continues to produce a cohesive collection of songs, with each one delving into the depressive psyche and divulging on the anxious mind. The song ‘Worried’, for example, continues this melancholic mood with lyrics such as ‘I just wish I had something to live for.’ The dark undertone is, however, lightened by the upbeat and bouncy nature of the backing instrumentals.
Lighter moments can be found on the album, such as ‘Moody’ which has a delicate opening riff and overall lighter vocals that sing ‘nothing works out the way I imagined it’; however, the bridge is perhaps what lets the song down, the slowed down sound becomes clunky and awkward, while the vocal tone falls flat in areas before picking back up into the rest of the song.
The track, ‘Ache’, is a stand out moment on the album as it opens with tinny guitars ubiquitous of an acoustic country style, which helps to highlight the pain of rebirth of ‘putting your former self to rest’. Through this, Youth Fountain show that they are able to branch out from their signature pop punk sound, and are able to fuse genres together seamlessly.
“‘Letters to Our Former Selves’ is a cohesive pop punk album that any listener will be able to relate to “
The first single from the album, ‘Deadlock’, described by Zanon as the most honest track on the record, divulges the inner turmoil the guitarist felt whilst growing up. The track grounds itself in, arguably, archetypal feelings of depression and anxiety; he explains that the song was ‘written a few years back during a super dark place I was in while growing up….sometimes you feel trapped in those negative spaces and there’s nothing anyone can do to fix that but yourself.’ Perhaps this is the meaning that exudes from the album: struggles are only overcome when you are ready to conquer them.
As the album draws to a close, with heavier number ‘Blooms’, it is obvious that ‘Letters to Our Former Selves’ is a cohesive pop punk album that any listener will be able to relate to with these strong themes of self-doubt and its message of rebirth as the former self dies. Whilst this album contains big sounds and angst fuelled lyrics it does at times steer towards a repetitive edge. Nonetheless, this album is an impressive step for the Canadian duo.