“They need a heart. 
I relapse on memory. 
I got numb again. 
I feel the scar, but I need the money.
I think I’m lost again. 

I think my life is disappearing.” 
~Punch Drunk,
Young and Heartless, Stay Awake

As much as I’ve been hooked on the arena-synth emo likes of the new record from  The 1975 (eveyr night) and the alt-country twinges of Brian Fallon’s “Painkillers,” (every morning) I keep adding ot he list of what I must l isten to that is new and different (during the day). Today that is the Young and Heartless, a Hopeless Records band that I’d heard of but hadn’t heard and listening to their new record provides a much more mature, complex sound than I imagined.

And to make it that much better – I checked out their Bandcamp and found out they are from my beloved Harrisburg.

There’s a darkness and edginess to their lyrics, about money and drugs and losing grip on one’s life. But their ever-so-slightly nu wave guitars elevate their sound to something silky, smooth and cohesive. The vocals are throaty baritone without the screamy-screeching that seems (finally) to be going out of fashion in favor for more technical, on-point melodies and backing harmonies. There are echoes of grungier emo, like Citizen, but also the introspective notions of Into It. Over It., and the shoegaze tint of Title Fight. Every song seems to be about not being able to get it, or keep it, together.

“Stay Awake” Is an incredibly digestible listen, but not necessarily a comfortable one – it’s not a happy record, by any means, but it is really beautifully crafted mid-tempo rock and roll. Each song, prior to its final chorus, seems to build a tension that breaks down in a feisty drum part and ever-so-dissonant chord choices. It’s a sound that feels absolutely trendy and on-point, but only because it has been fashioned out of years of work. However long they’ve been around, Young and Heartless are good enough at writing tight, deep groves together, which just so happens to be the sound of the moment. But you don’t get to sound this seasoned without a run-up, and something tells me this sound has been brewing in their garages and studios for awhile. 

I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this band on their record release day, as they start what is very likely a successful run and I seek anything new, relevant, present and different to enthrall myself in. As wonderful as it is to have new music from old favorites (and there is so much of that this year, notably new LPS from Aaron West, The Hotelier, and Thrice coming up this spring) having a new band with a new style and a new story provide punctuation to the phases of life, like the bookends in between what’s old and new.

“What am I doing? 
Carve me a new love.
Open the blinds.
Your life deserves light.”
~Misery on Misery 
Young and Heartless, Stay Awake