To be honest, it’s not terribly hard to compare The Dirty Youth to the likes of superstar upstarts such as Paramore: both bands have young – cute, if you’re so inclined to describe them so – female singers, and both play infectious pop-punk infused rock music. The main difference, of course, is that while Hayley Williams and her two hipster toy boy sidekicks threaten to bother the charts nearly as much as they do the nether regions of their pre-pubescent fanbase, the equally waiflike Danni Monroe and her brothers in rawk have been ploughing their wares up and down the country and earning the attention of hardened oul hacks such as my good (bad) self through their sheer grit, determination and unbridled work ethic.
The other main difference is that, as a result of that grafting, the Welsh mob have managed to produce an album – their second – which sounds simultaneously fresh and energetic, rather than manufactured and staid, and tight and professional, delivering sharp and crunching riffs combined with huge, highly memorable yet punchy hooks and massive, insanely memorable melodies of the kind that dance around infuriatingly inside your for several hours after.
Having caught The Dirty Youth live twice in a little more than 12 months, I more or less knew exactly what to expect from ‘Gold Dust’ – and I was neither surprised nor disappointed as, over the course of its 11 tracks it delivers all of the qualities mentioned in the previous paragraph… and in spade loads. Monroe has the sort of voice that teeters dangerously between high-pitched pop diva and single-finger-in-your-face punk princess, yet possesses enough of the latter quality to convince with her high energy attitude and delivery: and, unlike the vast majority of the Z List wannabe has-beens who generally fit into the former category, she actually can sing – and with conviction. The band – guitarists Matt Bond and Luke Padfield, bassist Leon Watkins and drummer Freddie Green – are tight and efficient, delivering all the musical elements with aplomb, expertise and undeniable proficiency, while the songs are well-crafted and delivered with the energy which is the watchword for this impressive second outing.
Yes, it’s a bit inane and almost copycat in places – ‘Darkest Wedding’, for example, is a bit of a disappointment (especially after the ambitious calling card of lead single ‘The One’) for being a pure rip off of My Chemical Romance – but it’s all good, clean fun… well, if you don’t cream your pants doing you know what while fantasizing about Ms Monroe and her tongue licking ’round more than the lyrics ;-) And, at the end of the listening experience, the band’s energy and enthusiasm definitely shines through and delivers an album which fulfills the same qualities they display in their live shows.
I’m Not Listening To You / Alive / Just Move On / The One / Darkest Wedding / Invincible / Bury Me Next To Elvis / Don’t Feel Right / Who I Am / Bedroom Karate / Holding On
Recommended listening: The One
‘Gold Dust’ is released via Transcend Music on May 11.
The Dirty Youth will be main support to INME on their forthcoming tour:
Monday 4 May – Manchester, Sound Control
Tuesday 5 May – Glasgow, Audio
Wednesday 6 May – Liverpool, Arts Club
Thursday 7 May – Cardiff, The Globe
Friday 8 May – Bristol, Exchange
Sunday 10 May – London, Borderline
Monday 11 May – Milton Keynes, Crauford Arms
Tuesday 12 May – Nottingham, Rock City Basement
Wednesday 13 May – Norwich, Waterfront Studio
Thursday 14 May – Reading, Bowery District
Friday 15 May – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms
The Dirty Youth also play Camden Rocks on May 30 and Shield Fest in Swansea on July 18.