Year Zero - Year One (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Year Zero

Year One (2010)

Young Modern

Year Zero's Year One was an overlooked pop-punk gem of 2010. The band's debut, Year One is a sprightly but admirably controlled record of pop-punk that puts a well-done spin on an oft-rehashed sound.

Year One is comprised of two recording sessions: 'Bottle Artillery', from summer 2009, and 'No Tongue for Eros', from winter 2010. But there's a lot of variety even within the respective sessions.

While this side of the record flows with a really understated, steady and straightforward hum somewhere between early, straighter-ahead incarnations of Face to Face and Samiam, "Breathe" and "Seasons" open 'Bottle Artillery' in very modest ways, almost in the vein of the Lemonheads, before a little more charge and fire is added to "The Great Debate". "Paper Bullets" sounds like if Dave Grohl wrote a pop-punk song for the first Foo Fighters record, while a spikier, snottier quality invades "Pros & Cons", closer to the Briefs/Buzzcocks. It's strange, because the general tone of this side is so consistent, but the variety of punk inspiration is clearly varied from track to track.

A more Hüsker Dü/Jawbreaker-ish guitar tone opens the title track opener to the other side, "No Tongue for Eros", but the vocals go that '77 route again, and it comes up in others like "Sinking Ship" and "Set Free". It's a cool, refreshing contrast. "A Place to Play" sticks it to pay-for-play practices, while I'm certain the band stocks "Insomniac" with melodic/lyrical references to As Friends Rust's "Won't Be the First Time" (unless that song alluded to some more classic track I'm ignorant of).

The only major drawback of this album is how much these songs don't stick. The hooks aren't quite there, but the experience of listening through yields a very chugging enjoyability and impresses itself upon the listener really well. Really solid effort overall, still.

The Great Debate
Pros & Cons
No Tongue for Eros
A Place to Play
We All Grow Up