I always get excited when I see a band tag themself as “math” which amongst other things Youth Salute does. I live in a town whose former glories lie in its engineering history and somehow that industrial grind, the off beat rhythms, the hypnotic pulse and cyclical nature of the place has got into its music to create a subversive style, mathematical rock, industrial dance and complex, off kilter pop. Maybe it is the pastoral nature of the bands Lake District surroundings, more washed and windswept, calmer and less claustrophobic that means that this was less in evidence that the other markers they had used to identify their music, rock and indie.
Youth Salute exists where the drive of rock crashes headlong into the accessibility and melody of indie. Nothing wrong with that, it may not be re-inventing the wheel but it has been a successful template for scores of careers. Where opening track Saint Mantooth contains some growling shock tactics, it is songs such as Making Knots that really sets the stall out, all wonderful dynamics, soaring highs and emotive lulls.
Oddly enough it is Alarms, when they are at their most restrained, most commercial, that really sticks in my mind. It’s a song that Coldplay would kill for, maybe if they had songs like this people wouldn’t want to punch them so much. But where as Martin and his minions aspire to this type of song, for Youth Salute it is a short detour away from their main journey of tight knit, high-octane melodic rock. Their biog says that they “have been told that they sound like Biffy Clyro,” …the whole of the alternative rock world thinks that they sound like Biffy Clyro, just as the whole of the alt-country community aspires to be Wilco. No, for me they show the same promise that Verses showed a few years ago, a band that are now muscling into the spotlight of contention and commercial acceptance.
There are a lot of bands working in the same territory as Youth Salute but with the promise shown on this album and a lot of hours slugging it out on the toilet venue circuit, they could soon be charging the barricades of the rock establishment.