For a genre that prides itself on being a welcoming place for misfits, lost souls and everyone in between, there seems to be a dominance of straight white males within the British punk scene of late. With things becoming more and more stale, one band are in the process of tearing up that all too familiar book.
Youth Man have been kicking around the British punk scene since 2012, and a support slot with letlive. earlier this year saw their hard work pay off, as they introduced themselves to the masses with an explosion of aggression. Shortly after the support slot, the band released Wax, a four track EP with single Fat White Elvis at the forefront.
Fat White Elvis is the perfect introduction to Youth Man, the Doe-like verses bleed perfectly into an infectiously hard chorus. Not only does it give you an idea of the diversity in sound found in Youth Man, but it also introduces the listener to varied vocals of Kaila Whyte.
The EP opener Sweet Apples sees the band take a more political stance, as the lyrics are said to refer to Saddma Hussein’s Kurdish genocide in Iraq. It’s a frantic three minutes, that bleeds perfectly into lead single Fat White Elvis.
Pigs is a track that fans of Youth Man will be familiar with, as the track was released in 2015 through the band’s BandCamp page. The two and half minute whirlwind tackles greed, lust and materialism within the modern world, as Whyte screams: “I’ve got cravings I can’t satisfy, I’ve got wicked thoughts and they’re running through my swine mind.”
By this point in the EP you’re ready for a breather, however, Youth Man have other ideas. Look:Wait hits the hardest of all the tracks, as the minute and a half whirlwind takes you on a journey inspired by a dream of Whyte’s. It’s aggressive, draining, and everything punk rock should be.
The EP closes with a much needed breather in the form of Painted Blue. Painted Blue is the longest track on the record, and also the slowest. Whyte’s vocals come into play more prominently here, as the deliberate delivery and fantastic range in vocals allows her to get her message across.
Overall Wax proves to be the perfect introduction to Youth Man. Not only is it refreshing to see a band fronting numerous cultures and genders break into the punk scene, the topics the band choose to tackle are thought provoking. Don’t fear though, if songs about genocide, materialism and the sense of security social media can give us aren’t really your thing, then the musicianship from Whyte, Miles Cocker and Marcus Perks is still set to lead to some of the biggest mosh-pits the punk scene has seen in quite a while.
Standout Tracks: Look:Wait, Painted Blue
For Fans Of: Petrol Girls, Doe, Against Me!
Written by: Daniel Rourke