The Kids We Used To Be
20 September 2010
by Tom Dare
Hype can be a funny thing. If a record arrives under the radar without the burden of expectations, your ear can be more likely to tune in on the positives. When an album comes in under a mountain of pre-release buzz, the expectation can make you critical of things you would otherwise ignore. What does that mean when a release has been hyped as high as the third album from Your Demise?
The opening double-header of ‘MMX’ and ‘Miles Away’ carries both a malevolent swagger and a level of naked hostility that threaten to burst out of your speakers and rearrange your front teeth. Following on from this, ‘Scared Of The Light’ pulls things back a little at the precise point you want it to accelerate beyond rage into an inferno of aggression. After such an opening, what would otherwise be a fairly lively slab of viciousness sounds more like mid-tempo chug, the breakdowns in particular providing little juxtaposition due to the very slight change in pace they provide.
New vocalist Ed McRae does the “I’m fucking pissed fucking off and you’re gonna fucking know about it” hardcore shouting pretty brilliantly, but by the time ‘Life Of Luxury’ rolls around you are hankering after a bigger hook to hang the aggression off. Whether this be a Lou Koller chant or one of Tim McIlrath’s angst-ridden melodic choruses, it just needs that little something to send things beyond the good and into the great. Your Demise seem to know this as well, and have recruited Lower Than Atlantis’ Mike Duce for guest vocal duties. Yet despite this being fairly sizable and well-delivered, it feels slightly out of kilter – a tad too much shiny-shiny production leaving it a little bit too clean and Dallas Green-esque.
The McIlrath comparison is particularly relevant on the title track, where McRae sings a clean chorus himself in a melody highly reminiscent of Rise Against, yet without the underlying rawness. When did “clean vocals” and “singing” became separate styles? Should the former should almost be prefixed with the word “squeaky” to differentiate between the two? It is slightly jarring to go from the balls-out torment of the screaming to the genuinely “nice” melodic passages.
Watch a preview of ‘The Kids We Used To Be’ by Your Demise:
So how does any of this factor in to how much hype an album’s received? Well, most of the points above would in all likelihood barely register had expectations not been raised so high for The Kids We Used To Be, because in truth there are bucketloads of great things going on. The riffs are jarring and percussive, James Taillby’s drumming is genuinely thunderous, and few frontmen this side of Frank Carter sound as convincingly apoplectic as McCrae.
But as with Cancer Bats’ Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones, The Kids We Used To Be has been hyped to a such a stratospheric level it cannot help but fall just short of the necessary quota of “Wow!” moments. Your Demise are very clearly at the forefront of British hardcore, and this is a genuinely storming record, but on this evidence they still have some way to go before they are ready to take the throne.
Sounds like: Gallows, Rise Against (occasionally)
Top tracks: Miles Away, Shine On, xo
Your Demise – The Kids We Used To Be tracklisting:
Scared Of The Light
Life Of Luxury
The Kids We Used To Be
Get The Fuck Out Of Little Rock
Like A Broken Record
Give Up, Get Dropped, Lose Out