Youth Man – Hill of Knives EP

Hill of Knives18 months after debut EP Bad Weather took the UK by storm, Birmingham "sex-punks" Youth Man are back with the five-track Hill of Knives EP. They sound more destructive than ever. Described as "the loudest band in the UK" - a big claim in this man's eyes, in a scene that contains the likes of Slaves and Crazy Arm - the trio are making a legacy for themselves as a formidable live act, and have done a great job of transferring that energy and sound onto this short release.

Vocalist Kaila Whyte throws herself full hilt into every single track. Hill of Knives opens with the Minor Threat-esque, feedback littered single "Skin". The track comes in at under a minute and a half of pure energy; the sort of thing Ian MacKaye and crew were famous for. Youth Man then head full speed into "Joy", the bass tones of which are rich and treble-y. The track builds a little more than the last, and is a grunge-y post-punk banger. A sure fire, no doubt about it. These three aren't just about making as much noise as possible though; there's method to their madness, an art behind the wall of raucous distortion that gives this trio the edge.

"Always The Same" continues in the same vein, but we then get a different taste of Youth Man with "Auto-da-Fé"; a brooding, atmospheric track that's been described by the band in a recent interview as "artsy-bollocks." The drums are foreboding, the bass loose and driving, and Whyte's vocals incredibly powerful. This track shows off a real quality to her voice that was perhaps missing before. Not that she's ever sounded anything less than remarkable, but "Auto-da-Fé" demonstrates a feeling and range that we've not witnessed from Youth Man before. It's back to yellingfor final track "Dead Weight", a song that also brings Kaila's guitar work to the forefront with a post-grunge riff straight out of the Josh Homme masterclass.

Sexier than ever, Youth Man have really announced themselves with this EP. We get a taste of the lot in 16 minutes with these five tracks, and the overbearing impression is one of a band on the verge of bringing something immense to the table. When these guys drop a full length, it's going to tear you apart, and this EP is just the beginning.

Release: 27th April 2015, Self-release


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