Young Rival makes solid indie rock 'n' roll on eponymous debut

Ontario-based three-piece Young Rival know how to make some good-old fashioned indie rock ‘n’ roll. Since their 2008 EP, Young Rival, the band has opened for Born Ruffians, signed to Canadian label Sonic Unyon and toured the hell out of Canada. “Your Island,” a single from the EP, earned them some blog love and gave them enough momentum to record their debut full-length, also called Young Rival.

The result is maybe one of the tightest, purest indie rock records I’ve heard in a while. Young Rival is strictly guitar, bass and drums and sticks to simple, riff-based songs that follow the once-tired, now almost nostalgic verse/chorus/verse structure. The problem with this structure, however, is that unless you have a really strong hook, you’re in trouble. Most of the songs on Young Rival, although they’re tightly recorded and pretty well-written, suffer from this problem. None of them really stand out as singles or immediately catch you.

“The Ocean” is a nice, mellowed-out rock song that lets you know Young Rival isn’t all just licks and riffs. Lyrics, often times morose ones, are played-up throughout the album. Maybe the biggest downer is “Modern Life” that tells the sad story of the times in which we live (yikes). Even on the seemingly more upbeat “Ghost In The Park,” the lyrics remain downtrodden (and a little eerie). Despite the lack of strong hooks, Young Rival is a tightly-recorded, well-written, solid indie rock album. The band can ride that train for a while and I’ll keep listening, even if I have to keep an ear out for the hook.

Young Rival – “The Ocean” [MP3]

Young Rival – “Modern Life” [MP3]

Buy Young Rival

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