Young Guns
Ones and Zeros


2.0
poor

Review

by Green Baron USER (159 Reviews)
June 15th, 2015 | 27 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If this is love, baby, I want out.

Young Guns were a band that certainly lived up to their name. Releasing their first material in 2010, the London-based group brought potential to the current British alternative rock scene, drawing comparisons to Lostprophets among others. They had already got their mainstream introduction when the title track to their sophomore album Bones justifiably topped the U.S. rock charts, even setting a new record for longest climb to the top with 32 weeks. The future seemed bright for Young Guns, who had already proven their potential with a pair of great albums.

Lead single “I Want Out” should have been a sign of things to come; although the radio version was given its own remix, the signals were still there. “Bones” introduced its respective album with a memorable chorus, fist-raising anthemic qualities and an overall sense of energy. “I Want Out”, while still a great song, sounds completely different than its predecessors. The layers of synthesizers, overuse of production and reliance on the clichéd “whoa”s are its main problems, and the harsh deviation from the Bones sound most likely ruined its chance at being commercially successful. “I Want Out” has some good qualities, like its arena-ready hook and catchy melodies that give it a sort of new wave flavor, but it’s pretty much a microcosm of the rest of the album.

Ones and Zeros is undoubtedly a more poppier record than anything else Young Guns have released in the past. The riffs are replaced with synthesizers, the percussion contains more artificial drum machines and most of the songs feel dancier and utilize the fabled “four chords of pop music”. Aside from that, the production is overdone in ways that detract from the quality of the album. The layers of polish make everything seem all shiny on the outside, but on the inside, the songs sound more hollow and fake. Couple that in with an endless onslaught of “oh”s and “whoa”s, and the end result is a batch of songs with little substance to them. Vocalist Gustav Wood, who normally sings with emotion and power, sounds dead and lifeless. Comparisons to Davey Havok can be made, more so Blaqk Audio than AFI, but it’s a far cry from the soaring vocals of Bones.

The main factor that contributed to Young Guns’ change in sound cannot easily be nailed down. It’s a combination of several aspects that, when combined, have just about the worst possible effect they could on the band’s music. Opener “Rising Up” sounds more Of Mice & Men sans the harsh vocals than Lostprophets, especially when it uses electronic effects in a similar way to much of today’s metalcore. Tracks like “Speaking in Tongues” and “Memento Mori” are a cross between dance-pop and alternative rock, but at least the former has a strong enough chorus to give it that extra “oomph”. The rule for Ones and Zeros is that if the track has either energy or a nice hook, it’s one of the few good songs on the album. There is, however, one exception – “Die on Time”, which is a bit on the boring side, is more experimental than anything else on the record, and the minimalistic beat, consisting of nothing other than snapping, is unique and interesting enough to enjoy. Everything else, whether it’s the appropriately titled “Lullaby” or the inanely bland “Colour Blind”, is extremely below average and waste of precious space.

Ones and Zeros is incredibly frustrating in this manner, because it could have been a better album with improved execution. “I Want Out” is the perfect example of great songwriting; the piano introduction grabs listeners in, the bass and drums mix in well to the beat, the synthesizers are well used, and the chorus is nothing short of humongous. On the other hand, a song like “Infinity” is repetitive, overproduced, musically uninteresting and contains a ridiculous amount of “whoa”s. It’s all dependent on which side of the band shows up, and unfortunately most of the time it is the latter.

Young Guns were always going to get flack for changing their sound so drastically. Casual listeners who enjoyed hearing singles like “Bones” and “(You Are Not) Lonely” on the radio probably wouldn’t put up with the poppy “I Want Out”, at least not without dubbing it a guilty pleasure. The transition from being an alternative rock band to a dance-rock one did not go smoothly, and honestly speaking, there was little chance it was going to anyway. By using all of the pop clichés known to man, Ones and Zeros is a disappointing effort from a band that had so much potential to work with. Not only is this a mainstream-friendly album, it's not even a good mainstream-friendly album. It's a boring, uninspired mess full of lazy songwriting and poorly used dance elements. The melodies aren’t catchy, the songs aren’t interesting and the music is wearisome. It’ll be hard to tell whether or not Young Guns will be able to recover from this misfire, or if the wound will prove fatal to the band’s future.



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user ratings (58)
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Green Baron
June 15th 2015


24810 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I Want Out is actually a pretty good song, not gonna lie



zmol
June 15th 2015


39 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Good review. I agree with most of the sentiments. I don't hate this album, it's just so not what I was expecting/wanting. And like you mentioned, if it was executed better, it could have been at least okay. Biggest disappointment this year, so far, for me.

zmol
June 15th 2015


39 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

I thought bones had about 6 really good songs. The rest weren't the best. But I enjoyed it. I can't find any songs on this I like even half as much as my favourites on bones.



Aww our ones and zeros were deleted

Tunaboy45
June 15th 2015


16811 Comments


this band

MattTD
June 15th 2015


678 Comments


I liked Bones, wasn't enthusiastic on the new stuff. Guess I won't continue to after this review.

Saw them at Reading last yr, they've gotten rly dull live as well.

LoLifant
June 15th 2015


1547 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Thanks, good review. 0.5 points bonus for "I Want Out", rest is garbage. Anyone who rates this higher than 2.5 can't be taken serious ever again.

Kupasexy15
June 15th 2015


334 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yep, this is exceedingly tedious.

Ecnalzen
June 16th 2015


8812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jeez.



Harsh tones.

LoLifant
June 22nd 2015


1547 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Average is still way too high.

Ecnalzen
June 22nd 2015


8812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it, sorry.

LoLifant
June 22nd 2015


1547 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Yes, you should be sorry for that.

Ecnalzen
June 22nd 2015


8812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like what I like.



I ain't ashamed.

NorwichScene
June 24th 2015


3030 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just give this another spin, so disappointed. Might put it down to 2/5

JohnFire
July 5th 2015


663 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This is Chuckles & Mr. Squeezy, part 2...

Aural garbage.

Green Baron
July 5th 2015


24810 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

no way is it that bad

JohnFire
July 6th 2015


663 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Maybe if I hadn't liked that band before I'd be able to be more... let's say diplomatic about this, but the same could be said about Dredg & Chuckles...

Green Baron
July 7th 2015


24810 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This isn't awful, it's just extremely disappointing. Chuckles was just shit.

Ecnalzen
July 7th 2015


8812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think you all are just being way too hard on this.

Darkhorse79
July 29th 2015


2 Comments


Yall are crazy I love this album.

Vorender
August 18th 2015


43 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Young Guns is great at making widely accessible music without compromising on sincerity. Another great and consistent album. Nicely done!



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