Review Summary: With Young Machetes, The Blood Brothers' final album, the band collected every element that was great about their previous efforts and made it all twice as ridiculous and excessive while achieving very satisfying results.
Obnoxious, loud, chaotic, quirky, and just flat out over the top are the terms that come to mind when someone mentions The Blood Brothers, and it couldn't be any more correct. Playing a large role in the manifestation of modern post-hardcore, their influential role can be likened to that of bands such as Thursday and Glassjaw (although nowhere near as iconic). With Young Machetes, The Blood Brothers' final album, the band collected every element that was great about their previous efforts and made it all twice as ridiculous and excessive while achieving very satisfying results.
Someone who is new to The Blood Brothers may be asking themselves 'what is just so obnoxious about The Blood Brothers?', but upon listening to the first thirty seconds of "Set Fire To The Face On Fire" the answer is obvious: vocalist Johnny Whitney. His vocal approach is odd to say the least, ranging from a whiny pitch that sounds like he wants to actually sing to chants that are less grating and to his easily recognized screeching form of screaming. But the thing is, it all works. It gives the album the characteristic of being so carefree and natural that it transforms from annoying to something that is borderline gorgeous. The Blood Brothers are fairly well-known for a dual vocal assault (similar to that of The Number Twelve Looks Like You) and vocalist Jordan Blilie is often overlooked due to Whitney's overbearing presence. Blilie does perform a vast majority of the screamed vocals in Young Machetes, though, but are usually background noise compared to Whitney blaring on top of everything else.
Instrumentally, The Blood Brothers are at their most experimental and reckless on Young Machetes. Incorporating more keys/piano/synth than on any of their previous efforts, the group include a greater number of slow and harmonic sections (see Camouflage, Camouflage and Spit Shine Your Black Clouds). But while drawing on a newer, fresher approach to their songwriting process, they also reintroduce the fast and frantic style which was commonplace on Burn, Piano Island and March On Electric Children (Vital Beach and You're The Dream Unicorn! for example).
I would be lying if I said this album didn't have its bugs, because trust me, it does. The first half of Young Machetes is far more interesting than the second half (there is a noticeable difference once 1, 2, 3, 4 Guitars starts) and the vocals could not get any more ridiculous, which could kill this album for someone who was never a fan of the vocals in the first place. But overall, Young Machetes is just a fun album and a strong finale to the legacy that The Blood Brothers have left in their wake.