Album Review: Young Livers – “Of Misery And Toil”

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The new Young Livers album is, from top to bottom, a 100% solid piece of punk rock machinery. Released April 7, 2010 on No Idea Records, “Of Misery and Toil” is the group’s second full-length release. A tip of the hat goes out to Armand John Anthony, who recorded and mixed the album in June 2009 at Satellite Studios (with the exception of drums, which were recorded and mixed by Ryan Williams).

In terms of production quality, “Of Misery” is worlds away from the Gainesville, FL group’s first full-length, “The New Drop Era.” Instead of overpowering drums, boxed-in guitars and muffled vocals (like on the previous album) the new release puts a much-needed emphasis on guitar and vocal clarity. And while fans of that grittier-sounding, D.I.Y. punk recording aesthetic may shake their heads at this, the step-up in production quality is a godsend for listeners who would actually want to decipher what they’re listening to from time to time. The grit is in the gusto, of which there is none lacking on “Of Misery and Toil.”

Chugging – yet frantic – start-and-stop guitar riffs sandwiching epic, despair-driven breakdowns are what one can expect from “Of Misery.” At times exuding an ‘80s, sequined codpiece kind of feeling, slathered with primal, anthemic vocals and punctuated all throughout by Gatling gun drum fills, it’s as if O, Pioneers and Strike Anywhere had a lovechild that landed somewhere between the most badass emo you’ve ever heard and slightly down-tempo thrash metal. And as much as No Idea would like to compare Young Livers to Thin Lizzy, for the life of me I just can’t do it. Yes, both bands have searing, double-guitar leads that could reduce even the most hardened listener’s face to a quivering pool of music-geek slop. But after that point is where the commonalities between the two end.

Unified enough to feel like feel like an album with a purpose, yet diverse enough to remember the sound of each song, “Of Misery and Toil” proves itself to be a gem among recent punk rock releases. Young Livers are currently making the rounds overseas, hitting up England, Scotland and Germany before returning to the States May 15. Check out tour dates and hear tracks off the new album on the band’s MySpace.



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