Youth of the Beast is a duo from California that recently released their debut effort, Seventy-Seven, 12 tracks of atmospheric alternative folk. The songs are drenched in reverb and echo, a noir sensibility that evokes a dark car ride across the badlands of the American Southwest.
The guitars are stark and bleak, contrasting with Adrian Symcox’s vocal stylings, a mix between Nick Cave and Rhett Miller. In fact, songs like “Highland Park” echo a darker, more sinister Old 97s, with the clever wordplay and implausibly catchy melodies.
The true surprise in the songs is the pop sensibility that many of them possess buried beneath the surface. The band cites ’60s pop as one of their influences. There’s melody galore that buoys colorful lyrics about the dark parts of life in songs like “The Dirge” and “Open Sky”. Other standout tracks include “Beachfront Property” and my favorite off Seventy-Seven, “Platt Street Kids.”
One of the interesting things about Seventy-Seven is that you can get the album in a vinyl package with original artwork, hand-crafted liner notes, and a digital download card. It’s an interesting marriage of old and new school.
Seventy-Seven is defintely recommended for fans of sparse roots-based music. You can find out more about Youth of the Beast, and how to book them for your next house party (an interesting take on touring), on their website.