Review Summary: Well bang my ass and call me Shirley if this isn't a horribly overlooked gem of 2013's punk scene.
An appropriate soundtrack for storming the Bastille, Youth Avoiders' self-titled debut LP is a brief, yet furious and accordingly rapid fire display of every aspect that you would expect to be present in a desirable modern hardcore record. The Parisian firebrands bring with them a variable host of influences from the captivating darkness of the 80s post-punk scene and the urgent springiness of the Swedish melodic hardcore extravaganza to the aggressive catchiness employed by bands such as Minor Threat and Adolescents in simpler times. In particular, the second adjective describing the latter bands above rings like the bell at Notre Dame here, these songs quite simply will
get stuck in your head.
This shouldn't be like trying to forget a drunken night where you got thrown out of a bar for punching your best friend, this is the positive side of memorable. Most notably, Chris' vocals are thick and rugged, yet also filled with a hoarse urgency that nearly edges into screamo territory at times. In addition, he also manages to add a slight melodic touch to his aching shouts into certain portions of the album (see the chorus of "Affliction"), which add a definite shout-along quality to his fiery lyrics. Instrumentally, the record is impressive as well, with the rhythm section of Marion, who mashes his skins like most men do with their genitals when they watch a Heather Vandeven solo video, and the twangy bass undertones of Bastien providing the ideal backdrop to the similarly jumpy, urgent guitar marauding and weaving of Christoph and Max. The warm and full production does a fine job in bringing out subtle nuances in the sound that otherwise might be hidden and really puts an exclamation point on Marion's drumming without becoming overbearing. Stand out tracks such as the closer "Oil Slick" and "Smoked Glass" really demonstrate this tight, calculated musicianship to a fine degree, and the results are pleasing to say the least.
One of the things that is also very evident is that this group of French bastards (well, one is German, but you get the f*cking picture) have an attitude and swagger to them that well exceeds their band's lifespan. Every track is enveloped in a feeling that they have been at this for an age, and yet they only put out their first demo in 2010. This is what is so promising about Youth Avoiders, they show such maturity for a band that is hopefully only beginning their career or the first leg of their Tour de France if you will. Personally, I only expect the quality of this band's future material to increase, with such a rock solid base for them to construct upon.
Anyone and everyone looking for a shot to the nuts and/or a hard hitting pièce de résistance of good old, snotty hardcore punk with a modern flash needs to give this album a chance. While Night Birds may have stolen the punk show in 2013 with their fantastic Born to Die In Suburbia
, there are a number of sapphires and emeralds hiding underneath that desperately need more attention and this record certainly falls into that category.