Until a couple of weeks ago, the only thing I knew about the Dirty Youth was the quality of their material. I’d heard good things but I didn’t know what they sounded like. After being suitably impressed with their set with Fozzy, I walked away wanting to hear more. And now, a couple of months early, I have their second album Gold Dust on hand.
If you don’t know, the South Wales band merges hard rock with essences of punk and cover it with a pop gloss. Much of their stuff wouldn’t sound out of place on regular rotation on Kerrang radio. Except it’s better than most of the music they subject their listeners to.
Had I heard this on a certain radio station, I’d have likely ignored it. But having seen the band play the songs in a live setting with no pre-conceptions worked in their favour. For me, it’s a bit left-field. There’s more than just a radio-friendly sound to them. There’s also a smattering of electronica too with current single “The One” smothered in it. Great if you like that but for me, it’s a turn-off and if that was my introduction to the band, they’d be ignored. It’s bouncy and energetic as a song with those elements should be. During one breakdown, it goes full electronica and could easily be played in some sweaty, neon-clad club where the currency is glow sticks and plays non-stop music of that variety.
However, one single isn’t enough to detract from the album’s quality. And as a rule of thumb, I prefer deep cuts over singles anyway. Gold Dust opens with the rousing “I’m Not Listening to You”. Big, ballsy, anthemic. There’s less electronica here, instead opting for something more hard-hitting with its sneering punk undertones and subtle melodic elements.
Even during the sombre moments like “Darkest Wedding” and “Holding On”, the music is still packed with energy. I love albums like that. The latter of the two is definitely the band at their most laidback but there’s still power and raw energy bubbling under the surface. It’s more restrained and has a sense of it ticking the ballad box for the album as if it’s mandatory.
Elsewhere, we have “Don’t Feel Right” which falls back into the hard rock corner with smoky, sultry vocals from Danni Monroe. It’s the sort of song that closes a set before the encore or after the opening song of the show. There’s more hints of electronica here during the outro but it doesn’t feel unwelcome here, the drumming from Freddie Green driving the song and takes precedence over the melody.
There’s some brilliant guitar work on display here from both Matt Bond and Luke Padfield, skirting around each other to create harmonious melodies and give the songs their raw, visceral edge. Danni Monroe’s voice captivates from the beginning and refuses to let go, her Welsh accent shining through at moments. It puts me in mind of Hayley Williams but without the fingernails on chalkboard effect.
Had it not been for the Fozzy gig a couple of weeks ago, I’d have missed out on this one. Gold Dust is a fantastic record and I’m delighted to have it. It’s infectious, raw, heavy and melodic in equal parts and is something fresh. And that’s never a bad thing.
Gold Dust is released 11th May