Young English - I Hate My Friends [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Young English

I Hate My Friends [7-inch] (2011)


If you want a bunch of Orange County souls influenced by Hot Rod Circuit, the Get Up Kids and Saves the Day, then Young English might just be for you. This EP boasts just four tracks but they mark their sound with pride and catchy melody off the silky vocals of Chris Pennings, without roughing up their output too much. The latter point could prove to be a slight crack in the plan though as they may need to be a bit more cavalier and reckless in their sound on a label boasting Man Overboard.

There's a mid '90s alternative/early emo/punk feel with "Neighbor" kickstarting things using Penning's clean vocals fully to strengthen their display. There's a nice semblance of indie tossed into the alternative feel and the EP manages a cool flow. Chris' vocal ability shines here on a song about growing up and the surreal escapism that eventually ensues. The band pursues this borderline punk sound further on "Anchors," which promises at the start but turns out to be their least strong effort on the EP. It's mired with more of the calmer alternative taste but there's some untapped potential brimming that just never makes it out on the track.

They have some ways to live up to after recently joining Panic Records, as they look to crowd a warm offering for the winter racks. "New England" however doesn't quite give the edge that it was supposed to and while not a bad song, it seemed full of underlying capability that wasn't brought forth. The band could have optimized a little more grit, and while not complacent, they seemed a bit held back and too cautious at times.

"I Knew You Once" does manage to harness the strong facets of their record and proves a nice way to conclude. It's hard to use a small array of tracks to show that you're not a flash in the pan but the band does navigate this well as they don't show all of their hand, but still give a taste to know that something fruitful is apparent. The weak songs aren't bad at all, especially relative to the better ones on the EP, but playing it safe may not be the best thing for these guys. They have something special here, but it's up to them if they want to unleash it or hold their hands. Either way, the EP is a decent break from the world.