Youth Killed It – ‘What’s So Great, Britain?’

By Kelly Ronaldson

London/Norwich indie-punks Youth Killed It seem to be completely incapable of sugar-coating. Their brutal honesty and often humorous approach to songwriting is a key component in making their music stand out, and their sophomore album ‘What’s So Great, Britain?’ is certainly no different. Self-produced and recorded at Crystal Sound Studios, the album addresses all the things that impact the life of a twenty-something living in Britain. As front man Jack Murphy says, he really did put his heart on his sleeve for this one.

Title track ‘What’s So Great, Britain’ kicks things off with a series of melodic guitar licks and ska-infused beats as the band give an appreciative shout out to British pop culture amongst backhanded criticisms of the country’s political and social issues. ‘Headbutt’ presents a slightly-humorous analysis of the typical British ‘bloke’ archetype, before lead single ‘Where Did I Go Wrong’ waxes lyrical about the struggles of the millennial generation through sophisticated alt-rock guitar work.

The ironic ‘Great British Summer’ comes next, branching out into pop-influenced genres and reflecting the depressing nature of British weather and how we all “pine for a bit of sun to cheer us all up”. The most remarkable thing about Murphy’s song writing skills, particularly evident in this track, is his ability to capture the epitome of being British – complaining in such a cynical yet satirical way that it’s actually entertaining. ‘The Getaway’ follows in the same manner, expressing the hopes and aspirations of just about every working youth while expertly communicating the mundane reality of everyday life.

Later, ‘0121’ shows off the band’s influences with a collection of dreamy, nostalgic riffs that fit directly between Blur and The Gaslight Anthem, guaranteed to have crowds belting out the chorus at any live show. ‘What You’re Thinking’ then marks an unashamed anthem against letting external opinions affect us, while ‘Already Dead’ leans heavily towards melodic pop punk as Murphy complains about the trivial problems that tend to drag us all down on a day-to-day basis.

Towards the end of the record, ‘This Sounds Cliché’ gradually builds into an emotional anthem for the broken-hearted, leading effortlessly into final track ‘On My Own’. Bringing in a gut-wrenching blend of piano melodies and acoustic chords, the track features emotive, heartfelt lyrics about admitting defeat, owning mistakes and the fear of being alone. It’s is a beautiful end to an already remarkable album that can resonate with an entire generation, and Youth Killed It have certainly done themselves proud.

KELLY RONALDSON

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