Band names are important; sometimes a mere name can make me sit up and want to take notice. A name has got to have something individual about it; call yourself “Brexit” and you are going to struggle to get noticed in a web search. The name of Manchester’s (Tameside and Failsworth to be exact) Callow Youth has a pithy ironic self-depreciating humour about it, and having now bought their debut limited edition CD Vibe Demo’s EP on Waterskins Records (worth £3 of anyone’s money), I’m pleased to have discovered this bright, positive and likeable band (although I am still pondering the merit of their apostrophe in the title, but I’ve gone with how the band have it).
Callow Youth are four 17-18 year olds (Alfie Turner (vocals/guitar), Tom Hilton (guitar), Nathan Wrigley (bass) and Connor Wilkinson (drums) and they have come a long way since forming in high school a little over 12 months past.
The EP contains three of the tracks recorded as demo songs in one session in one 8 hour session in January. The result is delightfully homespun with a few rough edges, but nevertheless shows that Callow Youth have real depth and promise. Spotify currently say that Callow youth get almost 1,000 hits a month; an impressive build up from a band from a standing start three months ago.
The opening track Into The Sun has something of a world weary vocal about it, but the lyrics have a bright hopefulness about it with the singer supporting someone that’s had a bad time and leads them to brighter times. This has a nice anthemic quality to it, with a good banging build up at the end of the song and atmosphere and attitude in spades. I hate comparing artists with other bands, but fans of early Catfish or early Stone Roses would not feel out of place here.
Rough is a less immediate tune, but nevertheless is a banger on the quiet with thoughtful and perceptive lyrics about the difficulties of living with little prospects in a depressed part of town. I like the distinctive Manchester vibe of the vocals on this track. To my ear, there’s also a hark to the early DIY bedroom demo sound of punk with the likes of the TV Personalities. Long Way Back is another highlight and gives a more intense and complex feel to the band. There’s some good urgent rhythm to this tune and again I get a sense of the clear musical honesty of a band who knows what they need to sound like and where they are going, but who are not afraid to tip a wink to the musical legacy of the late 1980’s. There’s no way these guys are callow youth, but it’s clear that while this debut EP is class, there’s also plenty for this band to grow into and develop as they move forward. I’m certainly looking forward to the follow up recordings in due course.
Callow Youth have thus far just done a handful of well received gigs, but coming up is a support slot for the Clone Roses at Uppermill Civic Hall on July 7th and on 22 September they will be at the Turn It Up! Festival at The Miners in Moston.