You Vandal play a form of emotive pop punk somewhat removed from the saccharine variety their Saves the Day-inspired moniker might imply. Instead, the Gainesville group employs a 90s alternative-leaning sound that owes more to early Brand New and like-minded UK brethren Moose Blood. Sound like an interesting mix? It is!
Abandon All Hope ticks off the necessary boxes over the course of its satisfying run-time. The band at times echoes the uptempo flair of Jimmy Eat World, particularly on the title track, while vocalist Eric Cannon has a knack for channeling Adam Lazzara with his charismatic delivery and catchy lyricism. The album pleasantly eschews genre archetypes by occasionally slowing things down and settling into a melodic groove (“Pixies,” “O.K.”) or upping the distortion and letting their grunge influences shine through (“No Fun,” “Die Alone”).
The only knock against the album is that some of the slower tracks tend to run together, though when they’re this enjoyable is that really a con? Pop punk and emo aficionados and fans of the aforementioned bands should spend some time with You Vandal. They haven’t reached the genre-defining heights of their namesake, but they have put together an album with hooks for days and the tight musicianship of a group clearly working to hone their craft. Recommended listening.
3.5 / 5 – Listen below.
Standout tracks: “Abandon All Hope,” “Say It Out Loud,” “Take Me Home”