cut to the chase, bruthas and sistas - 'Mouthful Of Love', the 2004 debut album
from Texan terrors Young Heart Attack, was friggin' awesome! Now, I'm no Jack
Kevorkian when it comes to medicinal knowledge but, I'm pretty sure that songs
like 'Tommy Shots', 'Over And Over' and 'Misty Rowe' had an effect on the listener
that was akin to adrenaline shots to the ear. There wasn't a bad track on the
album. And then, inexplicably, they were gone. Or so it seemed.
Without a record label, former keyboard player (now current bass player) Pauly Deathwish and vocalist/guitarist Chris Hodge regrouped, with the intention of penning songs "for fun", in the summer of 2006. Vocalist Jennifer Stephens stepped up into the writing process for the first time while guitarist Chris 'Frenchie' Smith manned the controls. Five-minute Ramone, and owner of probably the most consistently cool haircut in the history of rock 'n' roll, Clem Burke of Blondie provided guest drumming on two tracks. Claiming that "we make records that teenagers will lose their virginity to....music to get arrested for the first time to..." Young Heart Attack present their sophomore album - on UK label Not On Your Radio - with this statement proving to almost be a guarantee rather than PR hot air!
Title track 'Rock And Awe' comes hurtling out of the speakers like a reckless rock 'n' roll rocket ride and it is like the band have never been away. The song carries on where 'Mouthful Of Love' left off and long term lovers of the band will be grinning like a horse-collar. Tracks like 'Runaway', 'Good Love' and 'Munki' are the anthemic classic rock tunes that we would expect from Young Heart Attack, but to say that this album is a first album soundalike would be a gross misgiving. The terrace chant-a-longs have evolved into infectiously melodic sing-a-long hooks that are sonically supreme! Maybe this is the result of Jennifer Stephens being more involved in the songwriting but there is no question that she has elbowed her way to the forefront of the band and their sound. 'Welcome To My World', 'Drums Of Revolution' and 'I Love This Town' feature some seriously catchy choruses that threaten to veer into classic Vans-clad power pop territory, while the great 'Jackboot Goons' sidesteps towards the sound of The Donnas with a chorus that could have been on a certain album from 1981 called 'I Love Rock N' Roll'.
There is a definite shift in gear in Young Heart Attack towards a more melodic sound but, as the eleven examples on 'Rock And Awe' are testimony to, this is all about the evolution of a great band. The greatest comparison that I can make to 'Mouthful Of Love' is that, again, we have an album without a bad track. The list of plaudits for the album should end up longer than the John Holmes meal ticket - and rightly so. 'Rock And Awe' is already a shoo-in for the upper reaches of the 2008 album of the year charts. Essential.
by Gaz E.
Visit the Young Heart Attack Website