Young Guns certainly set themselves a challenge in bettering their fantastic debut album ‘All Our Kings Are Dead’, especially after their subsequent triumphs following its release: a Main Stage slot at Reading Festival 2010, supporting the likes of Bon Jovi, and headlining a sold-out London Electric Ballroom. But with ‘Bones’, recorded in Thailand and produced by Dan Weller, the quietly ambitious quintet have more than succeeded in stepping up to another level altogether.
There’s a certain defiance to the album, asserted immediately with opener ‘I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die’, which takes the stadium rock moments already displayed in their debut and emphasises them boldly, an aspect of songwriting that Young Guns have proved to be very skilled in. Current single ‘Bones’ radiates power and drive through a pulsing beat and a chorus that soars with layered guitars; with the melody of Thrice and the huge Lostprophets-esque chorus, this is a real milestone for how much the band have progressed.
On the first listen, it might seem as though ‘Bones’ doesn’t quite have the same instant fruition as its predecessor, but this is an album which requires a little more time for its contents to truly take effect. ‘You Are Not’, for instance, brews surreptitiously beneath the surface initially with a lone guitar riff, before building to a tremendous climax that’s brimming with emotive melody. While frontman Gustav Wood’s vulnerability is exposed through his lyrics in ‘Headlights’, as he croons softly: ‘I’m broken and I’m bruised, I’m beaten black and blue’, lead single ‘Learn My Lesson’ has bite and oozes determination, with an anthemic chorus that proves Young Guns are here to stay.
With a second album as mighty as ‘Bones’, it’s not hard to see why the High Wycombe five-piece are fast becoming everyone’s new favourite band. Although the record is ferociously ambitious and dramatic at times, Young Guns are perfectly capable of pulling this off without coming across as at all pretentious or arrogant. Despite their modesty, however, it’s clear that they know exactly where they want to go, and precisely how to get there.