Young English - I Hate My Friends EP
Release Date: Re-released Nov. 22, 2011
Record Label: Panic Records
I was going to write in this first paragraph that Young English’s I Hate My Friends EP sounds kind of like something the Get Up Kids might have written when they were younger. But then I Googled the band for the first time, and stumbled upon probably seven or eight different reviews that all compared Young English to the same three bands: Hot Rod Circuit, The Get Up Kids and Saves the Day. And it’s not that those comparisons aren’t accurate – they’re actually more or less spot on – it’s just that, how did all of those reviewers mention the same three bands? Did I miss a reviewer’s meeting?
Okay, that rant is over now. In an effort to not compare this band to any of those three groups, imagine this: What if AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer decided to sing with a little more grit, but had younger-sounding vocals, and instead of having cool indie rock behind his voice, he had some more driven, 90s emo-tinged pop-punk? I think that’s sort of what Young English sounds like. There is a healthy spoonful of good old punk rock spirit in I Hate My Friends, but the 90s emo-ish parts and Chris Pennings’ bright, clear vocals keep things from getting too gruff, and the guitars do just enough to keep everyone interested.
The first track on the four-song EP, “Neighbors,” is easily the standout. Aside from a cohesiveness that far eclipses I Hate My Friends’ other three songs, “Neighbors” also has the most identifiable lyrical content. Pennings reflects on the trials of growing up and the hardships of getting out – sure, they are tired topics, but that doesn’t mean listeners won’t enjoyably sing along to, “How can you grow, when you can't move on? You can't move forward alone.”
“New England” is the other notable track here, but Young English’s sound is so consistent that there isn’t much that separates this song from “Anchors.” The closer, “I Knew You Once,” sticks out from the pack by being a tad bit more aggressive and perhaps flashing the big potential that Panic Records sees in the Orange County, NY four-piece. This track is hopefully the direction Young English will take their sound; the EP as a whole sounds just a little bit safe, but with some more explosive tendencies and a more aggressive outlook, each of these songs could become stellar.
I Hate My Friends is a pretty solid example of an EP that sort of leaves you looking around the room when it ends, wondering if there is more where that came from. This band doesn’t just have potential; it has four songs that I want to leave on repeat for an hour or two. There is obviously a large room for improvement – like I said, I would like to see this band unleash some fury in the studio – but I Hate My Friends is as good a start in any. A 2012 band to watch for? I’d say so.