Many people tend to put their all into the first chance; after all, first impressions are told to be one of the most important things in life. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out the way people hope or expect as the road gets bumpy and circumstances change. This was the case for New Jersey post hardcore outfit Youth In Revolt who entered the scene in 2012, but really exploded in 2014 with the release of their debut EP Love Is A Liar’s Game and their unique cover of Lorde’s “Royals” on volume 6 of the well known Punk Goes Pop compilation. With such a whirlwind of releases leading to a quickly rising star, the band seemingly disappeared in 2015, going on an indefinite hiatus with no real mention of anything over the remainder of 2015 and throughout most of 2016. Things changed with the announcement of a new lineup in September, a new cover song and the signing to the newly re-imagined Outerloop Records — bringing the band a second life. Fast forward to the here and now, and the group is set to release their debut album The Broken to an immense amount of anticipation, but does it live up to it?
As the more diehard music fans are aware, the post hardcore scene has been and is continuing going through changes sonically as bands continue to opt for new, progressive sounds or experimentation into other genres altogether. It’s important to note this for people less familiar with the changes as Youth In Revolt’s sound found on The Broken feels slightly dated, leaving a feeling that the record arrived a few years too late. Fans of bands who were once at the forefront of this style in their prime, such as Sleeping With Sirens will notice immediate and apt similarities between the two; there’s even riffs, vocal patterns and rhythms that seem eerily similar to their older material. This is accentuated even more as Tanner Allen’s vocal style is very reminiscent to Kellin Quinn, which meant that Youth In Revolt should’ve placed individuality and uniqueness highest on their radar.
Taking these factors into account doesn’t mean that the album is terrible, or even bad, as there’s some great tracks that add moments of spice and variation to the album such as the acoustic love ballad, “Brisbane” and “Sleep”, a bouncier track with interesting chord progressions. Unfortunately, these moments don’t seem to happen enough to set the entire album apart during a full listen, resulting in the album flying by, due more so to the track by track similarity than the actual engrossment of the music. The rest is simply high quality, well produced post-hardcore with strong composition and production that lacks originality resulting in The Broken being a slightly above average album overall, even factoring in the great lyrical themes, musical talent and production.
The most pointed thing I can say about The Broken is that it’s uninspired and unimaginative. As a collective album, it is certainly above average, but those who are not fans of the band or the poppier, love driven style of post hardcore that was at its height years ago will not find much reason to listen to this album over any other band within the genre. There are definitely some great tracks, but I almost doubt that ten years from now, people will recall the release of The Broken as a defining moment in post hardcore history. There is almost no innovation here and no forward progression, but the music is still good and there are people who will undoubtedly love it.