Young Livers - Of Misery and Toil (Cover Artwork)

Young Livers

Young Livers: Of Misery and ToilOf Misery and Toil (2010)
No Idea Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The story with Young Livers' first full-length, The New Drop Era, was that it was a raucous bout of Drive Like Jehu-inspired, guitar-driven fury with abundant kineticism and quiet angularity. So it supposedly goes to show that the band is merely following John Reis' career trajectory by showing off .
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The story with Young Livers' first full-length, The New Drop Era, was that it was a raucous bout of Drive Like Jehu-inspired, guitar-driven fury with abundant kineticism and quiet angularity. So it supposedly goes to show that the band is merely following John Reis' career trajectory by showing off a slightly more buoyant energy via Hot Snakes' or Rocket from the Crypt's effortless roll on their new one, Of Misery and Toil.

Admittedly, those comparisons feel off, but Toil is still another representation of the closest a punk band can come to playing rock'n'roll without it ever once coming off cheesy or at all contrived. Still, that's about where any of those aforementioned comparisons might halt. Opener "Born in Vein" immediately propels forward with the band's familiar scowl of tortured, gravel-stricken vocals, nearly incomprehensible with every pained word and howling above a steady, forward-throttle beat with an incredibly somber guitar line ringing above it. As the feeling on this particular track shows, and the record title hints at, this is a slightly darker, commiserating response to their debut.

It's also a little more forgettable, as Young Livers ain't sticking too many hooks here or there to command replay. But it feels less like neglect and more like avoiding pandering; there's less a lyric that represents "All the Wretched" and more a mere feeling of emotionally damaged urgency that kicks it off so instantly and insistently. It's more of a scramble trying to find these senses of vague heartache as the record wears on, but they're there ("A Shortness of Breath"). It just takes patience, and the band still find points--like on "All the Wretched"--to briefly slow down and reflect, letting that early Hot Water Music vibe continue to permeate their sound as it did for Era.

Meanwhile, a fatter bottom end, courtesy of new addition bassist Mike Carter, garners press mentions of metallic riff behemoths like Big Business and Baroness, and while Toil occasionally feels unusually thick for the band, it's halfway there at best. However, that's admittedly farther than Young Livers' normal ilk, and it gives cuts like "Suffering From" and "In Rapid Succession" a certain burliness.

Though Of Misery and Toil often feels like white-noise punk saved by a graceful splash of melancholy and drive, it keeps its beat well and snaps the listener back often with its chord changes and intermittent moments of moody persuasion.

Of Misery and Toil


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
mknz (September 20, 2010)

"...Then why couldn't any of you assholes submit something for it in the last 5 months?"

classy dude.

victimofadriveby (September 19, 2010)

AMAZING ALBUM! Easily in my top 5 of 2010. Hot Water Music meets early Small Brown Bike. Only issues were that the vocal production irked me slightly originally and this album is not the catchiest. Still definitely worth picking up and they KILL IT LIVE!

smallyellowchair (September 18, 2010)

This record rules and this band is awesome live! Plenty of hooks on the record I thought and the dual vocals with Mike Carter have made 'em better than ever!

blanktapesemptybottles (September 17, 2010)

also definitely a grower, it was so unexpected to have such a natural and cleaner sounding album from the combination of two heavy sounding albums they came out of

blanktapesemptybottles (September 17, 2010)

mackenzie you definitely did a better job dude, read it way before this one

inagreendase (September 17, 2010)

...Then why couldn't any of you assholes submit something for it in the last 5 months?

pacer (September 17, 2010)

I'd agree with the below. I kind of got the feeling Brian was trying to say smart things about the album rather than just giving it a chance. Admittedly, it's not as immediate as the first album, and I agree it's not got the hooks in the same way as the first album, but instead it has amazing songwriting (the adult version of hooks), the vocal interplay, and the amazing fills dave sticks in at all times. Plus a shortness of breath absolutely fucking rips. Amazing album.

badbrain (September 17, 2010)

Of all the great records that have come out this year, this one has probably been my most heavily rotated, somewhat unexpected at that. I loved the first record, and this one is at least on par if not slightly tops it. I definitely disagree with portions of this review, no hooks? After the first couple spins I found myself having parts stuck in my head, "Born In Vein" and "Finger To The Pulse" especially. And the dynamic of the dual vocals is top notch.

Young Livers are amazing to me in that I find myself getting the music and riffs stuck in my head moreso than the lyrics and vocals. Songs like "Drinks Are Our Amnesty" off New Drop Era almost don't even need vocals. They would be a great instrumental band even, but the vocals just make them that much better. One of the greatest active bands around these days, if not underrated.

mknz (September 17, 2010)

I don't like this review and it's 3 months after it came out. I think I did a better job on National Underground.
http://www.nationalunderground.org/reviews-mainmenu-71/832-youn g-livers-of-misery-and-toil

kelly_d (September 17, 2010)

Going to see them tonight with the Flatliners and Against me tonight. Its this small venue in Regina on Campus, the last time I saw AM was there in 2007. I'm hopping that their setlist will reflect that night back in 07, and less on the two albums they put out after that.... except the Ocean, thats a badass song.

xherojuanax (September 17, 2010)

Album of the year. The way the vocals intertwine is phenomenal. I was a huge Glass and Ashes fan, but this is nice consolation for their break up. Incredible lyrics. Awesome concept. Not to mention how amiable these dudes are.

j2ptupy (September 17, 2010)

Wow, what a half-ass review. Sounds like the reviewer listened to this album maybe once, while doing his homework. He totally misses the point, what about the dynamic interchanging lyrics between Farrell and Carter? Or the grungy riffs Hall is able to plug into every gap of every song? Young Livers push the envelope on this album, how can you ignore that? The title track showsyou how ambitious this album is, and they pull off their stab at some melody. This album is way better than the whiny teeny bopping shit you guys usually review on this site.

Anarchypants (September 17, 2010)

Great album - no gimmick punk rock

lifetimerule (September 17, 2010)

This record is incredible and the review doesn't do it justice at all!

Its throbbing energy and drive is something not found too often and captures their live sound very well.

Highly recommended record and live band!!

bytheslice (September 17, 2010)

Very solid live band. Saw them rip it up a couple of months ago. They were also really nice dudes.

MN_DrNick (September 17, 2010)

I really liked this one.

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