After teetering on the precipice of destruction for some time now, the debut The Young Hearts record may well only be here because the band fancied one last coup de grace. With nothing to lose, and spending five years in their creative valves, The Modern State is packed with all the heart of a 15th round Rocky Balboa comeback.
In retrospect, the 'one final roll of the dice' mantra that surrounds the record is idyllic. The sounds of desperate longing that reverberate from The Modern State's every bone strike even firmer when you understand what's been on the line for the Kentish Town four piece. And what's better suited to accompany the human touch of punk rock than a story that has purpose, right?
Don't take that as a claim suggesting The Modern State is an 11 track play on your sympathies, though. In fact, The Young Hearts go out of their way to keep the record at bay from sapping your joy. Instead, an intimacy of relationships, of modern culture, and a pursuit of longing are put front and centre. It makes for an album that, regardless of circumstance - is ready made to find middle ground with, well, anyone.
'Easy Life' speaks of emotional independence with a classic, heavily amped The Menzingers instrumental backdrop - it's tough to not get roped in. Craig Lawrence's fervent bellows of "I know the world won't wait forever, and I'm sorry that's been so long, at least I know I can make it on my own" could either soundtrack your next heartbreak, or a rom-com protagonist's sudden discovery of affection. Cliché? Possibly, but The Young Hearts pull the story off so well, it hardly matters.
The Modern State's rallying cries rarely venture outside the tropes of punk rock you've found in The Gaslight Anthem, or Cold Years - but if anything: it's to the quartets favour. The one-two of 'Cold Nights' and the title track are something of a rhythmic swing, hopping from sing along hooks to solemn glances of realisation in the space of five minutes. The mood changes from The Young Hearts are occasionally sudden, but they're never any less than fitting.
It's not until 'Old Familiar' that the bands mission statement is truly unleashed though. With an opening, scaling riff that pays homage to mid 2000's Green Day and a lead chorus that's undeniably infectious - it's here where the bands poetic arsenal hits its beautiful, full gear.
Made when the band weren't even certain what the next six months might have looked like for them - The Modern State sounds like a record freed from the weight of the world resting on it. Full of choruses made to be chanted in unison, with a compelling narrative and instrumental backbone: The Modern State is everything that great punk rock can be, and then some.
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