Released 2003 on XL Recordings
Chris Hodge - vocals, guitar
Jennifer Stephens - vocals (and live, a tambourine)
Frenchie - guitar
Steven T. Hall - bass
Joey Shuffield - drums
Young Heart Attack are a young band - Mouthful of Love
is their debut - but their influences are nothing but classic, and worn proudly on their sleeves - AC/DC, Guns'n'Roses (on Appetite..
), MC5 (Over and Over was originally their song), The Who (the intro to Starlite
"pays homage to"/rips off Won't Get Fooled Again
), Motörhead, Kix (!) and even Zeppelin's less psychedelic, more straightforward, moments. Basically every great high-energy rock band (not
- and let's make this clear - not glam rock/hair metal) of the past.
You won't find anything new on this album - rather, there's just 10 top class tracks of high-energy, blues-influenced classic rock. Clearly of the opinion that if you're not going to do something new, you'd better at least do it well, these guys have gone and done just that. Young Heart Attack is a great name for a rock band, and Mouthful of Love is possibly the best album name they could've chosen.; then, on top of that, they've assembled ten infectious songs (either written them themselves, or else cherry-picked from some of the best available). Every track is relatively short, and (with the exception of (Take Me Back) Mary Jane
, the album's midpoint chillout song) pretty much based around a simple structure, twin guitars playing catchy, loud blues-rock riffs (with the occasional kickass guitar solo - see Sick of Doing Time
for an example), and the vocals.
The vocals, to put it bluntly, are awesome. Chris doesn't so much sing as scream/yell the whole time, in a manner that sounds like he's simultaneously trying to be both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson - it's high-pitched, but not in a Justin Hawkins or power metal kind of way. Jennifer's vocals are the something extra that Young Heart Attack have. For a start, she has a lovely voice, and great vocals on their own, but on many of the tracks, she and Chris trade off their vocals, singing one line then the other, or collaborating on the choruses - when it is done, it's breathtaking and huge fun to listen to. Mouthful of Love
, El Camino
, Tommy Shots
, Sick of Doing Time
, Over and Over
and Misty Rowe
all noticeably have this double vocal attack, and as such, they're somewhat superior to the other tracks. Still, there are no filler tracks here - (Take Me Back) Mary Jane
provides a spot of humour and a more relaxed song, and the other two are still fine rock songs.
As well as nothing new, there is nothing to challenge your intellect - no weird time sigs or changes, no incredibly notey riffs or complicated basslines, and no existential or brain-stretching lyrics; they tend to stick to the tried and tested rock formula of beer, women, gasoline and generally having a great time. If you're of the disposition that can enjoy a no-brains, all-fun approach, then that's no problem, though I can see how some might find dumb fun not enough of a product to spend money on.
A final, personal note - Young Heart Attack really fire on all cylinders live. I was lucky enough to see them (it's how I got into the band) supporting the Wildhearts (my favourite band at the time) and the mighty Motörhead, and they were the band of the night for me. Chris had really great stage presence (standing, legs akimbo, with his big hair and big guitar), and both he and Jennifer never faltered once in their vocals. Really worth seeing live.
All in all, a very good rock album, stuffed with good tunes and a brilliant vocal style, all done with an attitude which just screams energy and enhusiasm for life. If, like me, you were pissed off at bands like Jet and The Darkness being hailed as gods just because they took a retro view (and even though they were really just average, or below in Jet's case), then this is probably what you should be listening to. Worthy of just over a 4/5.