Saturday, 10 March 2018

Album Review: The Young Rochelles by The Young Rochelles

Fourteen songs in just twenty five minutes. This can be one of two things, a hardcore record or a pop punk record. With song titles such as Never Saw The Ramones and My Stomach Hates My Guts you'd guess a pop punk record, right? If you did then you are correct! Well done. The album in question is the new self titled album from New York based pop punk band The Young Rochelles. Not to be confused with The New Rochelles who the band shared/shares members with. The Young Rochelles features Ricky Rochelle (drums and lead vocals), Rookie Rochelle (bass) and Rocky Rochelle (guitar and backing vocals) with Ray Jay Rochelle adding additional guitars and backing vocals. The album came out way back in December 2017 and I've already wasted too much time not listening to it so I'm super keen to give it a spin now.

The album gets going with the aforementioned song I Never Saw The Ramones. Before I continue and to save time - every song on this album is fast paced, pop punk with sugary sweet vocals. Never Saw The Ramones is about never seeing the greatest band that ever existed. I feel your pain, The Young Rochelles! Don't Let It Last starts with some awesome buzzsaw guitars that you might expect from the likes of Teenage Bottlerocket before we get to the vocals and a track about being in a bad relationship and getting out of it as quickly as possible. There is a superb moment in the song when the music drops out for the chorus and we're treated to some delicious a capella style vocals before storming through towards the end of the track. The third track is named Return Of The Skunk Ape. This upbeat and cheery sounding song tells the tale of a holiday (or vacation) that takes a turn for the worse when the Skunk Ape makes an appearance. Uh-oh! This is great fun, very catchy and is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.

Monster In The Hallway is one of the longest track on the album coming in at a gargantuan (I spelt that right first time, hooray for me!) two minutes and twenty-two seconds. It also features the best line on the album - "she's got more issues than The Beatles have hits." The track is about falling for a girl who is a drama magnet. On my first listen through of the album this was the stand out song for sure. The World Will Swallow You Whole starts out fairly aggressively (for The Young Rochelles) before settling back into the wonderful sound that I've gotten comfortable with. On this track the awesome harmonies that The Young Rochelles are capable of really come into play adding a wonderful extra layer to the song. The World Will Swallow You Whole is about learning to be strong or you will become overwhelmed by the trouble and strife that comes with being a human being person. Coffee In The Dog Dish starts in true Ramones fashion with a scream of "1, 2, 3, 4!" This is very welcome and nice to see a little nod to a band that have clearly influenced The Young Rochelles. Coffee In The Dog Dish is a song about having a hyperactive dog and the fun that comes with that. Kind of a silly song but such good fun. The sugary sweet vocals seem to get an extra squirt of glucose on the seventh song, No More Fights. No More Fights is a track about the frustration felt when you continuing to argue with your friends and it causing problems in the friendship. Despite the pretty downbeat topic this is another song you can't help but smile along with.

The second half of the album begins with She's Always Glowin'. The Young Rochelles take a different approach with the style of the song. It's more melodic than the previous songs with the vocals carrying the majority of the melody on the song and the drums creating a great back bone for the track. This really is a superb vocal performance by Ricky Rochelle. This will probably be one of the most obscure musical references I make all year but I'm really reminded of Dutch pop punk band the Travoltas on this song and that's fantastic. Song number nine is titled You're Tops and is a dedication to that person who makes you feel so much better. This really is a heartwarming track and I wish more bands would write songs like this. Sometimes I feel like there just aren't enough songs that say thank you to all of the good people out there. (Cue half a dozen comments listing thank you songs, I'll start you off with the Descendents - Thank You). The Young Rochelles completely switch up the nice sentiments of You're Tops on the following song, titled My Stomach Hates My Guts. Vocally it's slightly more raspy and raw than what we've become accustomed to and rightly so given the songs topic. Basically it's about having constipation and the discomfort it causes. (Hi mum, this is what I'm doing with my life - writing about songs that are about pooping, proud?)

Caught You In A Lie is surprisingly the only song that's less than one minute long on the album. The band blast through this song that is about exactly what the title suggests - catching out liars. Musically this song is fairly simplistic but this does a great job in pushing the song forward. The abrupt finish of the song catches you slightly off guard and gets you ready for the next track, Mental Vacation. Musically I instantly think of Pennywise, which if I'm being completely honest with you are not a band I would think of whilst writing about The Young Rochelles. I loved that the band have gone down more of a skate punk route here, showing off a whole other side of their sound whilst still retaining what has made me fall in love with this album. The penultimate song is named Coastin' Strong. There is a bit of a angry punk rock snarl in the opening vocals that took me a bit by surprise but quickly loved. The contrast in the snarling and sweet vocals in the opening verse really give a new fresh sound to things that I hadn't realised that I had actually wanted but immediately realised I needed. Coastin' Strong is another quite heartwarming and positive song about wanting to spend your life with somebody who you love. What a brilliant song. Finally we have Last Love Letter. I hope you're sitting down because The Young Rochelles have gone bloomin' crazy here and written a song that's over three minutes long! Recovered from that shocking revelation? Good! Last Love Letter is a beautifully sweet song/epic about falling in love with the one.

The best compliment I can give this album is that I never struggled to think of anything to say about any of the songs on the album - and there are many of them. Sometimes I do struggle to write reviews of pop punk records, particularly ones with fourteen songs as they can be a bit repetitive. This really wasn't the case here. I really enjoyed every second of this album and am at a complete loss as to why more people are mentioning The Young Rochelles in the conversations about the best Ramonescore pop punk bands around.

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This review was written by Colin Clark.

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