MOUTHFUL OF LOVE - Young Heart Attack (XL)
A scathing attack by The Barman on Young Heart Attack’s support slot at the second Sydney show for DKT/MC5 might make judgement of the band's debut album “Mouthful of Love” seem a forgone conclusion, but that's not the case.
Young Heart Attack hail from Austin,Texas, but don't adhere to my expectations of how a Texan band should sound (Ernest Tubb, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, etc.) This band pursues a decidedly stadium rock-influenced sound.
“Mouthful of Love” is 10 tracks and from the outset, the profound influence of Aussie legends like AC-DC appears to be apparent. Yet, with female vocals (courtesy of Jennifer Stephens) an integral part of the sound, YHA can't be so easily pigeonholed. Bon Scott might have inspired co-vocalist Chris Hodge but that's a positive, in my book.
"Starlite" follows the title track opener and is one of the four singles. It's a surprise with Who-esque (ca "Won’t Get Fooled Again") intro; yet the dual lead vocals maintain the stadium rock sound.
"El Camino" has a touch of '70s boogie rock, then deconstructing and then building back to a boogie feel at the end. "Tommy Shots" (also released as a single) takes things back to more conventional hard rock and is a highlight. "(Take Me Back) Mary Jane" is an almost detour into Rolling Stones country rock (ca "Honky Tonk Women"). "To the Teeth" kicks things up apace. "Sick of Doing Time" has YHA attempting to match it musically with (and holding their own) with the likes of Sweden’s Hellacopters and Melbourne’s Casanovas.
A cover follows; a take on the MC5’s "Over and Over" sounds overblown and overdone; yet those already aware of Young Heart Attack’s sound should not be surprised at this stab at a classic. "Misty Rowe" closes the album (and was the first single) and continues the strident, tough, hard rock sound with added dynamics.
Young Heart Attack’s “Mouthful of Love” is definitely the sound of a developing young band, but has enough impressive moments for stadium/hard rock fans, ready for something with a difference. - Simon Li
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