Young Guns – Echoes
Echoes is the latest full-length release from London’s Young Guns, due out September 16th via Wind-up Records. For this album, the band went into the studio in early 2016 with producer David Bendeth. If you don’t know Bendeth by name, you certainly know his work; producing albums for the likes of Paramore, All Time Low, Killswitch Engage, and so many more. With Bendeth at the helm, Echoes takes the band in a new direction. As frontman Gustav Wood told me as Warped Tour this Summer, the album is more a guitar-driven, energetic, and high-tempo melodic rock album than their previous work. Another element of the recording that surprised me was just how short the entire process was; written in just eight weeks and then recorded in another five.
The album opens with its two strongest tracks, “Bulletproof” and the title track, “Echoes” – they bring all the energy and emotion that the band is known for together with their new musicality. From here however, the album is a little uneven; a few of the tracks fell flat for me, lacking the same impact and chutzpah that I found in the openers.
Standouts include “Buried” and “Mad World”, the opening riff of the latter finds its way into my head quite often. It’s impossible for me to not think about “Mad World” without immediately imaging it as the ever-present score to a Mad Max film. The music is strong and driving in a heavy dystopian rock kind of way, while not taking away from the album’s theme.
I think the whole album is a reflection on a specific time period in my life. The past year has been a time of great change and the end of a lot of things – the finishing of a 6-year relationship, the departure of an original band member, and lots more. The whole album is a conversation about the past, the present, and the future. From being stuck in the past and not being able to let go to finding the best way to move on, and all of the aspect of those ideas, each song feels like it has a common connected theme running through it. – Young Guns frontman Gustav Wood
The album ends, or rather should end, with the penultimate track “Paradise”. It begins with Wood and a piano, both instantly setting it apart from the nine tracks that precede it (and the one that follows), and makes Wood’s vocal talents abundantly clear. Listening to this song reminds me of every video I’ve ever seen of Coldplay’s Chris Martin sitting in front of a piano on stage. This videos, and certainly this song, are intimate yet bigger and deeper than they appear on the surface.
It is always inspiring to see a band, especially one like Young Guns that has made the kind of name for themselves at home and abroad continually try new things and expand their musical horizons. This album’s strengths are not hard to find, and point directly towards bigger and better things for Wood and Co. in the future.