Album Review: Young Lions - 'Blue Isla'

28 January 2015 | 2:37 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Big, bold, beautiful & bloody brilliant!

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It doesn't get much better than Brisbane’s Young Lions. No, we’re not kidding.

If you've ever had the pleasure to listen and enjoy this young band then you’ll know exactly what we mean. If you haven’t, this is something you need to fix.

When it comes to Young Lions, there is one thing they do best above all else: write songs. It may sound a trivial and stupid thing to say but the Brisbane alternative rockers have a presence about their songs. They feel so full and well-polished that you can’t help but be swept up in their massive scope. Debut album ‘Burn’ opened our eyes (and, ears) to these marvels, now their sophomore ‘Blue Isla’ confirms only what we had thought: they are one of the Australian most promising bands.

Blue Isla’ is the epitome of this band’s sound. The opener of ‘When Will We Free’ is anthemic and stadium filling and boasts a huge choir like sing-a-long over a sweeping sound bed that some A-level bands wish they could achieve. The song opens the floodgates to how immensely big this album is in scope. Each song feels like it could well be the closer of the group’s live set due to the sheer power each track encompasses. Yet, they rarely, if ever, feel overbearing or aggressive. The band utilise layers and genuine song-writing ability.

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Forever III’ holds the best chorus on the record and is unarguably one of the best songs on ‘Blue Isla’. The title track is a solemn and lonely piano ballad that, even then, thanks to careful key placement and Zachary Britt’s vocals, feels powerful and immense.

The songs have an almost post-rock feel to them with the beautiful guitar tones and the transcendence from soft and purposeful openings to huge swaying choruses and endings. This becomes even more evident when you listen to the closer of the record, ‘Tearing Us Apart'. It opens with a section of guitar melodies that could have been taken from or put onto an Explosions on the Sky record. The track then builds up into a frenzy as Britt shouts the final verse and the band goes all out, playing intense and forceful. The result? One big build up to end all the build ups on the record!

It’s almost ironic the way an album that has been so calm and so gentle in its tone ends on an angry and almost violent note. When you compare the record to ‘Burn’, the debut album was far more aggressive and assertive in the way it was written and played whereas ‘Blue Isla’ is almost peaceful, resilient and lulling. Not only that, but the names suggest a change has also happened. “Burn” being associated with fire and “blue” being associated with water, you can see how the albums fit their respective connotations. So to end on an aggressive note might well be ironic but might also fit the message of the song. In this world where corruption and greed rule over the world, no matter how hard we try we always end up where we began in our pursuit of something better.

...Or, they could have just chucked one of the best, more aggressive songs on the end for the sheer novelty of it. Either way, ‘Blue Isla’ is phenomenal in every way, shape and form.

‘Blue Isla’ is one the best ways to begin the year in music. It holds its own above A-grade international bands and does so through its whole length. Young Lions seamlessly create a spectacle of an album where every second feels encompassing and captivating. We were impressed with ‘Burn’; we’re just plain ecstatic about ‘Blue Isla’!

1. When Will We Be Free?

2. You Are II

3. Forever III

4. I Know I

5. Blue Isla

6. Keep Learning

7. Deliverance

8. The Gold Was Never There

9. Breathe

10. Knowledge Is Power

11. Tearing Us Apart