Before you continue to read this article, please do me the favor and click the play button and listen to the bloody album.
Thanks. Now we can start.
From time to time, there are albums that just blow you away. They remind you of better times, take you somewhere you think you had long forgotten. When I first put this album on my record player, with the needle crackling quietly until it found the groove, I was nothing more but curious to hear what would come out of my speakers. I never imagined I would be in for such a treat.
I was home, incomplete though.
Yes the album starts slow, a little plucking of a guitar and a thin voice. But as soon as the lyrics above have it my ear, I know immediately what I had been missing. This is it. An album about what I always wanted to say when growing up. Countless hours in a practice room with my friends all of a sudden made so much sense. If this album had been around 10 years ago it would have been the soundtrack to my youth, to growing up, to falling in love for the first time, to my first cigarette, to my first nights out drinking sweet alcoholic drinks and not caring about living a serious life. When I think about it now, I bloody miss that time. It is amazing how every single song on this album holds at least one line that I would have loved to have written in my diary, if I had ever written one that is. The sense of growing up that this album transports is so vivid and colorful that it should be written in ink on every teenagers body. Anyway, before I get too carried away with the lyrics (but fucking hell, they manage to just not fall off the knife’s edge into the melted cheesepot that is lingering for some fresh bread) there is more to this record that makes it so damn exciting.
It’s not that I lied, it’s just hard to say that I tried
As this is turning out to be my “growing up reference review” it might be worth explaining my obsession with rough sounding recordings: The little town that I grew up in is nice. I never had a bad childhood, I never got bullied, I always had a bunch of friends and was never one that didn’t strike lucky with girls (hell knows why). But just looking at the size of the town I’m from (about 14k people) should give you an idea where the problem was. It was far from cool, far from having an exciting music scene, or any scene in fact. So with Napster still being this demonic tool that some weird internet geeks use, a dial up internet connection, no elder brother or any big city nearby, I relied on traditional media to gather all information on music. I wasn’t a fan of pop music, though I cherished my parent’s record collection that included Beatles, Stones, Greatful Dead or Michael Jackson (all on vinyl, dudes). I tried to soak up every little bit of sub culture that was out there. I ended up with Punk first of all (just a year after I realized that Fred Durst was a wanker and spearheading a complete sell-out genre), then ventured further into hardcore. What I always liked most though were the melancholic moments in punk and hardcore songs. The ones that were never soft or pop, but the ones that were talking about more personal feelings. I felt like I could connect to that far more than to the angry struggles of an inner-city hudlum facing the police. I mean, I did back then understand was social injustice was, but did it really affect me? Is that something that a young teenager feels like doing? Anyway, from that moment onwards, it wasn’t a huge step to get to the DC scene and Rites of Spring or Fugazi. The start of the first EMO (oh fuck, I said it) bands. So yes, I am a sucker for Mineral. They have pretty much got the perfect sound aesthetic for me.
So what the hell am I still doing in your room?
Coming back to the here and now, You Blew It! manage to nail that aesthetic on its head. The youthful confusion, the break-ups, the nights out drinking are all captured in a craggy voice and always slightly off harmonies. The twangy guitars just add to that sense of displacement when always fighting with the crackling distortion and feedbacks. The drums sound so pure and close by that the rest of the instrumentation has to fight for its place in the mix. No sense of over-production and that is probably the biggest compliment you can make in my humble opinion. The whole sound fits perfectly for a record so honest and direct that you feel like you’ve been friends of that guy singing to you for years. It’s so delicately balanced, so perfectly unperfect.
That’s all I’ve got to give
As you might think by now, this is album has to be a perfect 10. Yes, it’s not far off anyway. From the football dudes artwork and the lyrics up to the sound aesthetic, it is a brilliant record. And yes, you can get it on vinyl which is boss. Sadly though, the mixing of the vinyl version seems to have gone a bit tits up – it sounds like a demo-album, sometimes a bit indistinguishable. Some vocals sit a little bit too quiet in the mix and it feels the bass is too low too. But well, at least now there is one tiny downside to the album which will make waiting for the next album so much more worthwhile. If there had not been any negative aspect, I would have had to go crying in my flat for the next year or so. Bloody scary!
Finally take a look at the video below to get an idea of how great this kind of music is picking up some gear again. You gotta love impromptu shows.