As a Canadian, I have to admit I’m partial to homegrown talent. I can’t help but be patriotic.
With that said, even with my bias, Vancouver-based Youth Fountain has put out one of the best first albums that I’ve ever heard. Granted, five of these songs were on their previous EP, and were originally developed before the band had even settled on their name: you can still find an identical copy of Grinding Teeth by Bedroom Talk on YouTube.
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that literally every song, even the interludes, on the album create a sweeping and aggressive sound that both stands on its own and suggests that the future work from Tyler Zanon and Cody Muraro has the potential to grow. The anthemic opening track suggests that they could move in the direction of bigger, sweeping songs instead of the driven garage punk that they’ve seemingly already mastered – but the future direction of Youth Fountain is a different topic.
While the album may lack lyrical depth on some songs, it is definitely not superficial, and the sophisticated mixture of rough and clean vocals, which both Zanon and Muraro sing on different tracks, and the distinct and fast-paced guitar and drum work creates a loud and aggressive record that is just as catchy as it is roaring.
In all honesty, you should give this entire album a listen through. The standouts for me were Rose Colored Glass, which is perhaps the poppiest sounding song on the album (though far from sounding anything like pop) and carries a great, jumping guitar riff and the most poetic lyrics on the record, Worried, which carries a great floating bridge and pre-chorus that flows right into an aggressive and forward rough chorus, and Complacent, which starts with its foot on the gas pedal and does not let off until the title lyric about two thirds of the way through, before driving the song to the finish at the same rate it started at.
Close seconds would be Ache, Deadlocked, and Letters to Our Former Selves, but as I said, you really do need to listen to the whole thing, which can be done in just 31 minutes.
The weakest song in my opinion is Grinding Teeth – which is also one of the oldest on the album. This isn’t because it’s a bad song, but rather because the guitar just doesn’t distinguish itself in a memorable way and the lyrics fall a little bit short of everything else on the album.
I understand that this has been a glowing review, but perhaps the best way to get across just how good Zanon and Muraro really are is the fact that I saw them live in Toronto with Homesafe and Can’t Swim – and instead of being burned out by their music which I had been listening to steadily since their EP dropped in July 2018, I find myself with their album still on repeat.