A horrible hack

Autistic Youth


Year Released: 2014
Format: 7"
Label: Sabotage - Taken By Surprise
Reviewed by Alex Hannan on May 28, 2014
The newest 7" from AUTISTIC YOUTH starts promisingly, with a catchy guitar lead over ominous tom-heavy pounding, moving into melancholy chords, verses setting up a melodic chorus. It's smoothly written - the bassist breaks up the verse arrangement by slipping into a high-up monotone bassline while the guitar continues its octave riffs, they add a choppy rhythm on the chorus, climaxing in a totally SoCal melodic punk flourish at its end - "We will, we will, we will, we will not lie down." I don't listen to much music that pairs class-war-ish sentiments with this much melody - to my ear it comes across almost "la la la, burn the rich, boop boop be doop," a sort of Fat Wreck take on the Portland sound.

"I don't care" has an even sweeter, poppier sound to it - the verses have a beat-group like, BEATLES-y chord progression under the distortion. A brief lull with taut snare rolls leads into a big melodic chorus. It's a strong song and I've had it in my head regularly over the past few days, but the lyrics are a little weak, a generic meditation on gloomy city life. "In this town, this town without the sun / We all blind, yeah we all blindly run."

"About these words" is another well-turned out mid-tempo number, with a sing-along chorus and catchy little guitar tags dotted around. The lyrics deal with not thinking for yourself, but are clumsily shaped, addressed to some un-defined "you" who tells the narrator what to think. "I had a thought so I wrote down what I knew / But I need you here, so you can tell me that it's true / I can follow along, I'm finding comfort in the ease / Gimme a thought and I can live it without reason." The world-view of these songs is passive, black and white, oppressed by big, nebulous evil forces. The promise of rebellion "one day" in "Graves" is the one spirited moment, against an interchangeable "the masters" / "the rulers" / "the rich".

My interest is definitely piqued - what I'd really like now is to see these songs played live with a shot of onstage adrenaline and a little of the polish scrubbed off.

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