Review Summary: Wild, intense and full of energy. "Young Machetes" is a wild spitfire which will leave you speechless after the first listen.5 of 5 thought this review was well written
Already named one of Alternative Press' Most Anticipated Albums of 2006, Young Machetes was recorded at Robert Lang Studios in the band's native Seattle with the help of producers Guy Piccioto (late of Fugazi) and John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, The Gossip, Blonde Redhead), who produced the band's acclaimed 2004 release Crimes.
The Blood Brothers' previous effort Crimes-described by Vice as "sex at the speed of sound" and moving URB to declare "Any hope for America's young starts here"-pushed the envelope of the Blood Brothers' sound further than ever while resulting in the band's most focused work to date. With the surprisingly sing-along anthemic chorus of single "Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck" and the blistering groove of "Teen Heat," the album earned rave reviews from magazines ranging from STUFF (who gave the album 4-stars) to BLACKBOOK to SPIN to RESONANCE.
But how did their 5th album turn out?
The Blood Brothers are: Jordan Blilie, Mark Gajadhar, Morgan Henderson, Cody Votolato, and Johnny Whitney.
1. Set Fire to the face on fire
The opening song of the album begins with the later significant 3 yelling chants "Fire!" which turn into a wild mix between electronics, drums and guitars. During the "set fire to the _ on fire!" the song gets pretty heavy and angry and synths kick in at the 1.10 mark. The vocals are pretty crazy and obnoxious, so it's still the old Blood Brothers style that we all love. After 1.45 minutes the song turns into a pretty insane part with loud techno beats for 15 seconds before we get a very loud and angry ending sequence. Overall I really loved the song, pumped me up and made me hungry for more. 4.5/5
2. We Ride Skeletal Lightning
A weird guitar riff completed with crazy vocals and just plain insane lyrics begin the second song. It has higher and lower sounding parts with a hypnotizing main guitar riff. The refrain of the song goes something like "I got shot in the face it's all on videotape/
So c'mon, watch the blood, it's pouring commercial-free." and after hearing the rest of the lyrics made me kinda thinking that it's about the media exploring everything despite how gross something is. The ending of the song is very wild like the first song as well with fast guitars and the screaming of "We ride, We ride, skeletal lightning/vacant as a womb that's miscarried". 4.5/5
3. Laser Life
After two heavy rollercoaster we continue with a far slower yet upbeat and happy sounding song. It has a electronic stocking beat that goes mainly throughout the song and the trademark dou vocals as well. We get a first portion of the refrain continued with the bridge and then whole refrain. In my opinion that was a pretty interesting idea and kept me very interested about the whole deal. I'm still worried about the mainstream direction they take (and this song does it as well) but they still have a great and cool amount of wonderful melodies and yet screaming vocals and heavy elements. I'm still unsure about the meaning of the song, it's maybe about dancing through your life and blaming it on electronics if you get crap by others, but I still could be horribly wrong. 4/5
4. Camouflage, Camouflage
Now we just entered one of my favorite songs on the whole album. "Camouflage,Camouflage" begins very different from the very catchy refrain which I talk about later. The intro and the first verses contain a story with the splitted vocals as they scream low sung ""alice, where's your tongue?" and the high sung "she said, "look in the encyclopedia's ceaseless chatter.". After 10 seconds they switch parts in the vocal range. Very cool. Then we enter the just insanely catchy and brilliant to sing along with main refrain. You just have to sing along with "Camouflage! Oh, Camouflage!" After two minutes we enter promptly an only acousting part with melancholic singing. The whole song then fades out with a dramatic drummed and fast guitar based ending. It's a fun rollercoaster, definitely a huge highlight on the album and just a great piece of music that they delivered. 5/5
5. You're the dream unicorn!
The fifth song kicks off with some really scratchy and uncomfortable guitars and the high vocals. Overall the song seems very intrueging with different parts and weird lyrics like "I'm the unicorn with tar teeth chewing spandex nightmares./My spine's a limousine that drives all night but never goes anywhere." The whole unicorn part clears up when they later reveal it towards the end and the 1.35 mark that they felt Las Vegas was that unicorn that drove them nuts. It's definitely not a favorite song from me but it's a quick and fun filler. 3/5
6. Vital Beach
"Vital Beach" begins with an awesome main guitar riff that seems very weird. It's pretty hard to describe. The whole song seems very unbalanced and wild which I really liked. During the middle of the song it seems to lighten down only to explode again. One of the fun things of this song are definitely "Vital Beach, Vital Beach, Vital Beach, Yeah!" parts which are just pure fun to singing along with. The lyrics are kinda hard to understand but I think it's how about a man fell into various paintings and enters a crazy journeys. "i'm falling face first into a/another painting/of a hallucinogenic sunset/at vital beach, vital beach, vital beach, yeah". The song is another favorite of mine on the album. 5/10
7. Spit shine your black clouds
The first half of the album ends with this song and begins with cool sounding electronic keyboards and even some snares later in the song, from what I can hear in the background, and relaxed drumming. Out of nowhere after one seemingly pointless minute we enter a piano driven slow vocal part that begins with "First you stayed in bed all day and walked around all night/Then you threw your phone away and slept
beneath the freeway underpass.t.". The slow rollercoaster continues different with that elctronic that seems now a lot powerful which I really loved at that point. That really was a highlight so far in my opinion. We enter a new rough and angry sounding part that turned again into that powerful part before. Finally we fade out with the piano part that has now the elements of the other parts in a great ending sequence that was a huge fun to listen to. 5/5
8. 1,2,3,4 Guitars
The song begins with some snares and a pretty cool bassline. It has some really awesome vocals that don't feel forced at all and seem rather spontanoes and emotional. This method seems to continue after the leadsinger desrcibed lyrically wise the first two guitars until we enter a wild part with a loud sound and angry screaming. When we enter the 4th guitar, of course lyrically wise, the song motions into a lot faster pace with also new added instruments and parts. It also has a cool part around the 2.30 mark with the mentioned bassline and lonely singing. The song fades out with the angry part and a pair of guitars in the last 15 seconds that were really unexpecting and which added a lot to it. 4/5
9. Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank
Now we're talking. This is definitely another big highlight of the album with some, almost tango sounding like, guitars that were pitched very high only to get lower but more precise. Then the vocals kick in which are the best so far. The big deal in this song are the lyrics which deliver to the fullest. They are about war and how it doesn't matter who won because you can't dress up or erase the deaths of the soldiers. Here's a sneak preview of the great lyrics and the ending "Young machetes in lingerie charm us all into a frenzy/His mouth's an ugly hole full of quadriplegics./They left you for dead in the desert haunted with the ghosts of prostitutes.""Dress my cropse up in a low-cut
dress./Drizzle lipstick on my charred French kiss/Dip my severed jaw in cheap cologne/push-up bras dangling from snapped elbows." "But death's just death no matter how you dress it up."The ending sequence sounds sound-wise also like a national anthem which seemed very fitting and hilarious as well. 5/5
10. Nausea Shreds Yr Head
This song is more like an old school song of theirs with the typical elements that made them somewhat unique and entertaining. It directly begins without an intro into some very angry vocals and great background guitar sound. The drumming is also top notch and keeps the song in a fast pace. The amazing thing about this song is that it has those various parts that keep you interesting and made you wonder where those 2 intense minutes just went.
Now to the lyrics.: "When the fire's chewing up your/walls where you gonna go?/Nooses hung from the stars tell me yes or no.""Would you rather be homeless or dead?/When your floor's foaming at the mouth where you gonna run?" Obviously this song is about that fleeting emotion and spir-of-the-moment event of a house burning down. Will you hesitate to grab some belongings or, *** it, I'd rather be alive. Would you rather be dead or not have possessions? 4.5/5
11. Rat Rider
The song kicks in with no remorse and kicks you right in your face with the intense vocals. The lyrics here are just nuts.and the song is so energetic. Jordan Blilie's vocal skills really shine in this track. After the mentioned crazy part it slows down with a guitar riff and calms that spitfire down for a while. The song left me pretty much speechless at first despite the fact that it was a filler. It was just so wild and kicked right in. Pretty amazing. Not much to say about the rest because of the pretty much short length of 2 minutes. Here's a little preview of the crazy lyrics "Those chariots, they're closing in/made your wife from diesel fumes/Those chariots with megaphones/threw a bachelor party for you."3/5
12. Johnny Ripper
Now it gets a bit repetive. The track that never has any really piercing moments. It's melodic and linear, but it has no dignified substance or breakdowns to show his off his technique which is a significant problem in my opinion of the new sound. What I like here are the different higher and lower parts of the song that keeped me at least a bit interested for it, but nothing much. Skip this song if you want. 2/5
13. Huge Gold AK-47
This song kick off almost indie like with some toned down fast guitars but quickly turns into the wild messy sound. Throughout the song it switches between those parts. The refrain has some really cool background "Yeah Woo a Woo Woo Woo!"'s that automaticially make you sing along with. This album has btw some very clear tendencies to the war situation lyrically wise which seemed a bit phony at first in my opinion but seemed to fit with their sound so I don't many complains here. Now to the song again. Overall the track gave me a good feeling and was one of the better fillers here. 4/5
14. Street Wars/Exotic Foxholes
"Street Wars/Exotic Foxholes" is one of the slower songs of the album with a cool bassline and slow drumming. I think they should switch they high pitched vocals with some more relaxed ones for the more emotional and ballad like songs though. It really takes away from the musicianship a bit. The song seems to end after 3 minutes only to serve up another 2 minutes with rather pointless guitar work at first but I still liked it because the album was really wild and fast so I really appreciated a relaxing 2 minute part. 3.5/5
15. Giant Swan
The last song of the album starts with a ticking clock and turns into a sad sounding part that could come right from a rainy night or a lonely night at a bar. It has a very depressing feel and is a lot more different from the other songs. They really made a great decision to put this one at the end. The song really delivers and keeps you interested throughout the 6 minutes. So it seemed like we end this album calmly only to bang our heads again in the middle of it with angry vocals and wild guitars that come out of nowhere. Really surprising. But in the end it was (thankfully) only a short part of it and didn't really ruin the epic feel of the closing track of the album so it was all fine and dandy. 4.5/5
+ Brilliant Songwriting
+ Catchy songs to sing along with
+ Very cool new electronic elements but no overusing
+ Awesome guitar riffs
- A bit of a repetive sound after the first half and listens
- A lot of fillers and short songs
- You may not like the obnoxious and loud vocals
Spit shine your black clouds
Lift the Veil, Kiss the Tank
Nausea Shreds Yr Head