Overall Score: 9/10 Sing-alongs: 9/10 Repeat Listen Value: 9/10 Production: 9/10 Pros: Cons:
Debut albums matter. Maybe not as much as they did 30 years ago, but they are still vitally important. As an artist, this is your chance to show the world what you’re really made of. Singles and EP’s are all well and good, but one hot single won’t make a career. Albums are different, they’re a test of a whole different set of skills. They’re an opportunity for an artist to show that they can craft a fully formed and cohesive project, and something that will stand the test of time. For all of these reasons and more The Modern State is hugely important for The Young Hearts.
2017 brought the Honestly, I’m Just Thinking EP, and good reviews, but The Modern State is the next level and the real litmus test.
It is incredibly difficult to understate and underplay how good this album is. It’s not flawless, but it’s close. It’s not perfect, but it’s close. What The Young Hearts have done, is create a piece of art that will still be played 10, 15, 20 years from now. They’ve captured a mood, a feeling, and emotions that will hit the listener right in their heart.
The Modern State feels like early 20’s angst mixed with nostalgia and a wistfulness that only comes with age. The band themselves say that the album is about growing older and all of the expectations and social pressures that come with it. But not only that, but about turning 30 when you’re still working everything out in the same way that you did when you were 20. The traditional pathway through life has changed, but the societal expectations remain, making this an album of uncertainty.
Opening track Wild & Reckless is wonderfully up-tempo with a fantastic chorus. It’s a recurring theme throughout the album, that not only could almost any of the tracks been singles, but they are all incredibly well written, and have fantastic choruses.
Easy Life is one of the real highlights of the album, it has incredible sing-along potential and will leave you craving packed sweaty venues, flying beers and being swept off your feet by a tide of unfiltered and unadulterated joy. The brief glimpse of a heavy as hell guitar riff in the closing stages just further serves to pile on the smiles and the feeling of wanting more.
The album’s title track, Swim and Anchors are much slower, more deliberate and thoughtful but there’s no dip in quality or intrigue. Only on Still Wander and Fools Gold do you get tempted to hit the skip button.
On one hand, The Modern State is almost a yearning or lament for misspent youth, friends and days gone by. But at the same time, it manages to be rousing and uplifting. Its melancholic undertone is comforting rather than unsettling. You might feel like you’re falling short of expectations, and that you aren’t where you imagined you’d be, but that’s alright. We’re all the same and we’re all struggling, and muddling our way through life. And in a world full of lockdown’s, pandemics and uncertainty, that’s sometimes all you need.
The Modern State is out on 29 January 2021 via Year of The Rat Records and can be pre-ordered from the band’s website.