Some albums are instant classics- the albums that people still talk about twenty years down the line and revere- while others take some time to grow. The Young Leaves fall in to the latter category, but given the chance, “Life Underneath” will work its way into the hearts of many.
The Young Leaves have certainly done their homework before releasing “Life Underneath.” Hearkening to influences like Taking Back Sunday, early Alkaline Trio and Blink 182, The Young Leaves are poppy and emo enough to be endearing, but not so emo that people will point and laugh at them. Sure, they sing about how life sucks and relationships go awry, but they do it without overdoing the stereotypes of a genre that has seen livelier days.
What separates The Young Leaves from many other bands of the same genre is that they retain the energy of their early days. Though they proclaim in “The Basement Song” that their early work wasn’t very good, they stuck at their craft and continued to play what sounds like high-energy basement shows, and it’s finally paying off.
While the album opener, “Scumbag,” gives the impression that “Life Underneath” will be another album of broken hearts and despair, the band counteract this feel by making the song a very high-energy track that draws the listener in. Tracks like “How Badly Do Things Suck Right Now” and “Last Laugh” see the band channeling early Blink 182, while attempting to assert their independence from, well, everyone that could attempt to hold them back. “Scumbag” sounds like it could have come directly from a Taking Back Sunday b-sides album, while “Sleepyhead” sees The Young Leaves sounding much like early Alkaline Trio.
The band still certainly have some learning curves ahead of them. Their sound is likely not fine-tuned yet, and The Young Leaves could definitely stand to brush up on their guitar solos (the one on the track “Sleepyhead” is borderline painful- but manages to never stumble into headache-inducing territory). Fortunately, in due time, The Young Leaves have the energy and raw talent to become your new favourite band.
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