Blitz Kids - The Good Youth
Release Date: January 20, 2014
Record Label: Red Bull Records
Parts of Blitz Kids’ second full-length are outstanding. Others are dreadful, sure, but the outstanding stuff? Boy, is it worth sticking around for.
Both the title and rich anthemia of first track “All I Want Is Everything” show that Cheshire’s Blitz Kids have lofty ambitions for their sophomore effort and lays everything they’re about on the table with its bombastic “We wear our hearts upon our sleeves ‘til the end” opening gambit.
Scyscraping lead singles “Run For Cover” and “On My Own” are dramatic improvements on a formula debuted on 2011 debut Vagrants & Vagabonds, with vocalist Joe James’ impressive tongue-twisting and new addition Matt Freer’s pounding sticksmanship shining on each glossy track respectively.
The shine is provided by Red Bull Records mainstay John Feldmann, who’s smoothed out the band’s trademark rough-around-the-edges approach to pop-rock with mixed success. A scattergun approach that takes in everything from groove-laden calls to arms (“Sometimes”) to toe-curling ballads (“Long Road”) was always going to be risky – the latter song is a strong contender for the worst song of year, whereas the former could well be in the running for one of the best - but means this record is ambition enough to avoid being labelled as a simple exercise in pop-rock-by numbers.
Travel further into the album and you’ll find more genuinely world-beating anthems interspersed among what is a considerable amount of filler, with contagious effort ‘Perfect’ one of the jewels in this album’s crown. Angular and expansive, this song in particular brings to mind the best bits of 30 Seconds To Mars (i.e. less bullshit, more spine-tingling gang vocals and tasteful electronics). It’s just a pity it sits alongside the forgettable, scuzzy ‘Sold My Soul’ and meandering, exhaustingly positive ‘Keep Swinging’, from which lyrics like “When you’re down, keep swinging because life is a mystery” will surely pop up in a thousand teary-eyed tweets and Tumblr posts.
It’s the likes of ‘Keep Swinging’ that give this record away for what it is. Blitz Kids are clearly still working on separating the wheat from the chaff, but The Good Youth finds a young band making progress, however stuttering, towards being a damn fine rock band. There's one in there somewhere, be sure of that.