Currently leading the way for best record artwork of 2017 (see below) Young Amphibians released “Junked Up Heart” their first length offering since 2014. When H2N spoke to Ash and Thom before the release they suggested their sound had matured in the last couple of years and they were really proud of what they’ve produced on this new EP.
All thirteen minutes of Junked Up Heart are incredibly balanced and the maturity is certainly on show right from the off with End of Today, Start of Tomorrow. In it’s simplest form, I would describe the track as a soft Libertines crossed with the best of The Cure. Now if you’re racking your ears trying to think how that would sound – you’re probably not far off. With stretched but controlled vocals, happy lead guitar notes but a few darker lyrics as would be expected from Young Amphibians fans.
Track two follows a similar pattern – although a slower track the influences mentioned above along with The Smiths clearly come through. “Show me the right way to live” and “show me the best way to die” are lyrics reflective of the way Thom writes his songs. As mentioned in our interview he writes on the darker side of rock and City Charm is certainly down this way. The vocal on the track though is superb and although musically not the most innovative or new provides a great backing to a beautifully constructed lyrical track. Although on an earlier EP I am so glad it made it onto the new one as it really does fit the blend of the other tracks and is certainly a welcome addition.
The Best it’s Ever Been is the EP highlight personally. With much more layered musical work it shows more what the band have been up to in the last couple of years. They’ve been finding ways to create music that isn’t just your “typical Leeds band”. They’ve, despite all the comparisons above, created an EP that does have a unique sound and whilst the final minute of this song shows this perfectly as they let go a little, the balance across the four tracks is reflective of how far the band have come.
The final track transports me to the 90’s as soon as it kicks in. Oasis, Pulp you name the band and you’ll hear a bit of them in NYC. Upbeat riffs, huge vocal hooks and a tonne of distortion over the track all combine to make a song atypical of Young Amphibians yet still fits the balance of the EP when listened to next to the other three songs. Junked Up Heart is a fantastic step forward for this band from Leeds and needs to be heard by all who are into any of the bands mentioned in this review. Good job guys!