Taking risks is a massive part of growing up and learning in life. Without doing so, many people would be stuck in the same routine day in and day out while many entertainment outlets would likewise be stuck in motion. By taking risks, people learn what they are truly capable of and what does and does not work the best. Everyone is able to take risks, but it’s the younger blood and generations that tend to be more open minded to the idea of it. In music, this is done by combining various sounds and elements together that typically aren’t or recording in different ways, giving an artist’s music a more natural and raw sound. This is where the young British rock trio Retro Youth thrive as their debut album, B.R.A.V.E is an exemplary showcase of what blending uncommon styles together can sound like, resulting in an experimental record for the alternative and pop rock realm.
Foremost, B.R.A.V.E is an album that is steeped in rich tradition at its core as Retro Youth worked with producer Lee Batiuk (Deaf Havana, Trash Boat) to record the album while Kris Crummett (Deftones, Sleeping With Sirens, Issues) mastered it. The combination of both of these established professionals helps the sound that the trio created shine through in a much more vivid aspect as the delivery is crisp and authentic, with subtle hints of many bands both previously worked with. Furthermore, the instrumentation flows so smoothly along with vocalist Kris Davis versatile range, creating an inviting, groovy and sultry atmosphere that effortlessly fuses together offering a memorable and very replayable sound. All of these elements come together, ultimately creating a sound and a record that pushes the boundaries of the stereotypical expectations that alternative rock and pop rock have, creating more than just another record that fits in a strict definition.
“The trio could be the next British breakthrough.” – Rocksound Magazine “These guys really have to be heard to be fully appreciated.” – Powerplay Magazine “At times they sound like glistening pop, sometimes they sound seductive and a bit sexy like an R&B artist, but throughout they’ve got hooks that you could land a whale with and the future therefore is very, very bright for these chaps.”
When it comes to the differences in sound found throughout B.R.A.V.E, that’s where Retro Youth truly shine. The album’s opener, “The Lost & Found” has a somewhat heavy-hearted tinge to it instrumentally which then flows into a more upbeat sound with a catchy riff that opens up “Hometown Homesick”. This is then followed up by the slightly funk and soul driven “Let It Burn” showing off Kris’ vocal prowess as his voice follows to the music. Rather than highlighting every singular moment that sticks out throughout the remainder of the record (there are a lot that listeners will notice), just know that this choice of combining sounds, and sometimes even switching up entire genres on the fly, continues onward until the very end. In order to accomplish such a task, the sound itself has to be flexible which is where guitarist Robin Burberry and drummer Alan Martin break through with their impeccable instrumental abilities.
From the anthemic and building “F.I.N.E” or the somber, melancholic atmosphere of “A Brief Moment of Calm” to the grooving and explosive “A Long Time Coming”, B.R.A.V.E is a showcase of different musical styles and backgrounds coming together, creating a sound that is similar, yet quite different all at the same time. It’s a fun, loveable album that’ll make listeners wishing it was summer while at the same time, pick you up with its positivity and toe-tapping rhythmic sounds. What their debut album shows is that Retro Youth have taken off the gloves and that they belong here, showing the world what a spark of fresh blood and a different outlook can do to invigorate music.