Youth Fountain

Keepsakes & Reminders

Written by: PP on 25/12/2021 01:40:23

Youth Fountain exploded onto the scene two years ago with "Letter To Our Former Selves", an angsty, melancholic pop punk album delivered at breakneck speed for maximum emotional intensity. It drew parallels to bands like The Story So Far and Living With Lions among others, while also utilizing just enough easycore to warrant comparisons to the likes of A Day To Remember in the process. Their sophomore album "Keepsakes & Reminders" continues largely where its predecessor left off, albeit with a suggestion the pedal might not stay glued to the floor on future albums.

The record starts with an introspective emotional ballad "My Mental Health" that attempts to capture the suicidal thoughts of emotive teenagers out there, before leading out with "Century". Here, Youth Fountain essentially sounds just as they did on their debut, delivering a lightning-speed piece full of emotional charge and in-your-face vocals. It's the sort of high-energy onslaught that turns heads right away, and when followed up with equally ferocious "Hideaway" and its screamed backing vocals, you'd be forgiven to think Youth Fountain are amidst part two of "Letter To Our Former Selves".

But from here onwards, they significantly slow things down. First on the call/response style of "Peace Offering", here echoing Taking Back Sunday, and then on "Dark Grey" and "Vertigo", which effectively sound like mid-era Hawthorne Heights songs in a slightly faster format. While they are decent songs, they fail to carry themselves with similar urgency and emotional intensity as the beginning (or for that matter, the last couple of tracks on the album). Worse, they sound rather derivative and generic instead of the emotional missile of their debut - "Nosedive" is an example that on the surface feels OK, but lacks longevity and staying power. It's as if the youthful spirit and infectious energy have both been toned down a notch. This is of course natural for sophomore albums - known as the sophomore slump in some circles.

That being said, the latter part of the record is mostly solid once again. "Jinxed", for instance, might be a balladic song but it features an infectious chorus that begs for a sing-along - the "if you give me the opportunity" bits get to me each time. "Take One Capsule A Day" might be totally anonymous, but both "Scavenger" and "Keepsake" return to breakneck speed pop punk delivered with irresistible urgency and immediacy. They highlight Youth Fountain's strengths: ridiculously fast tempo and angsty, halfway scream-laden vocals thrown on top for a pop-punkish easycore expression. They should drop the Hawthorne Heights style mid-tempo material as well as the slower ballads - it's just not their strong suit. Mostly good material overall, but a few anonymous tracks drag down the rating a notch.

7

Download: Century, Hideaway, Jinxed, Scavenger, Keepsake
For the fans of: The Story So Far, Living With Lions, Hawthorne Heights, A Day To Remember
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.11.2021
Pure Noise Records

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