ALBUM REVIEW: Retro Youth – B.R.A.V.E

Retro Youth are rapidly gaining fans thanks to their quirky sound, merging rock- pop and adding some groovy twangs for good measure. The trio recently released their debut album B.R.A.V.E via Independent Ear Records, here’s what we thought.

The Lost and Found kicks off the release with an infectious guitar intro, before we’re introduced to Kris J Davis out of sync vocals layered over the backline. There’s something unnatural about the flow of the track and as the backing vocals are introduced you feel your mind wander and struggle to fully focus on them. Hometown Homesick looks set to save the day with the funkiest guitar intro our ears have been blessed with in a very long time. Singing of the good old days when you’d be carefree, drink too much and just have a good time there’s a really catchy musical undertone to this track leaving you want to get up and boogie.

Known for their mismatch genre, Let It Burn feels very Lower Than Atlantis-esque showing a new side to Retro Youth. A sultry vocal effort from Davis and groovy guitar lines give us high hopes for this track, but as the chorus comes around it’s just a bit anti-climatic, keeping at one tempo throughout as you hang on for that big kick. We’re not too sure if we’re going to Love The Monster as a raw raspy vocal style is adopted, but the rockier enticing style steals the show and is one we can definitely back. If Davis saying “ssssparks” doesn’t send a shiver down your spine we’re going to be shocked. Title track Brave admittedly is very catchy thanks to the twirling guitar lines, but as far as clichéd lyrics go this is one of the worst offenders on the release: “I’m coming home and I promise you’ll never be alone” takes away all the good work the guitars have achieved.

Over half way through the release it’s been a rollercoaster so far, and we’re hoping to end on a high. Dream Alive flaunts the band’s nimble finger guitar lines, but by this point each track is beginning to merge into one undistinguishable blur with the odd snippet of quality material. Arguably the longest 1 minute and 49 seconds of your life comes with A Brief Moment Of Calm; on a 12 track debut album the trio should be attempting to captivate us, not send us to sleep.

With a name like Smile we’re hoping the release will get back on track, possessing the biggest chorus we’ve encountered it introduces a well needed singalong element. “I’m not the only one that’s ever been cheated on but I’m smiling while I’m leaving you,” sings of accepting that something has come to an end, which ultimately is the best conclusion. It appears the best tracks have been left until last as Bruises is upbeat, fiery and a step in a sound direction, which Retro Youth pull off with ease. Closing track A Long Time Coming gets beneath the skin making you bop along from the start, whilst strong vocals from Davis are driven by Alan Martin’s solid drumline and the backing vocals from Robin Burberry. The best is definitely saved ’til last on the trio’s debut album.

B.R.A.V.E may not have been the smoothest musical experience, but the quality of the tracks improve as the release goes on, as Retro Youth’s hone in on a suited style. For a debut album this is a promising start, yet with a little more style searching album number two can be an even stronger attempt.


Standout Tracks: Smile, A Long Time Coming

For Fans Of: Don Broco, Lower Than Atlantis, You Me At Six

Written By: Nicola Craig

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar