Album Review: PAWS – Youth Culture Forever

paws-youth-culture-foreverIt’s hard to imagine that an album full of passionately fuming lyrics could be so fun to listen to, but the sophomore record from the male trio PAWS proves that it’s possible. Youth Culture Forever combines heartfelt, angry lyrics from lead singer Phillip Taylor supplemented by rapid drumming by Josh Swinney and accompanying bass by Ryan Drever. Transitions between slower melodies and fast-paced rock jams make the album memorable.

“Erreur Humaine” opens the record softly with mellow vocals but builds with the help of energetic drumming. “Tongues,” offers a more upbeat tempo as Taylor desolately sings, “sometimes we’re forced to accept defeat.” With easy-going vocals and mid-tempo drumming, “Owls Talons Clenching” stands out, offering distinctive elements to the record. On “Give Up,” Taylor helplessly exclaims, “I’m tired of waiting for a call when I know it’s never going to come at all.” These lyrics, accompanied by rapid-fire drumming, make for a song full of angst with the musicianship to back it up. The next song on the album, “Alone,” slows the record down tremendously as Taylor sings with solely the background accompaniment of a gentle guitar melody. Taylor discusses the sensitive topic of suicide, powerfully singing, “he’s got a gun, he likes the taste of metal, he’s not the only one.” “Give Up” and “Alone” differ greatly in tempo and thus display the dynamic range that PAWS offers on Youth Culture Forever.

“Narcissist” finds PAWS regaining speed and offers a modern rock tune that listeners will want to jam out to. Another standout song is “Let’s All Let Go,” an up-tempo track that encourages listeners to “let go” of whatever may be holding them back in life. The album ends with “War Cry,” a tune close to twelve minutes long without vocals that combines a mix of instruments that results in a captivating track.

Taylor’s vocal range blends well with the drumming and bass from Swinney and Drever, making the record both interesting and vibrant. Overall, Youth Culture Forever provides a balance of fast and relaxed rock elements as it celebrates the woes of contemporary America, functioning as a series of anthems for the jaded, discontent voices of western youth.


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