You Vandal - I Just Want to Go Back to Hell (Cover Artwork)

You Vandal

I Just Want to Go Back to Hell (2017)

jump start records

Florida’s You Vandal are a band that I have been interested in for a few years now. I have played at and attended several festivals in which they have played, but due to scheduling conflicts I have yet to be able to take in their live experience. Regardless, I continue to enjoy all of the output the band has created up to this point. Their most recent release, and debut full-length on Jump Start Records I Just Want to Go Back to Hell is no different.

I Just Want to Go Back to Hell is a little bit of a departure from the – dare I say it – org-core style of punk rock the band has presented on past releases. You Vandal delve into poppier territory with this release, and utilize big power pop sing along choruses throughout the album. This record took me a few more listens to fully digest than past releases, as some of the hooks and melodies aren’t as straight forward, but they are well written and very memorable. The band retains enough of their punk rock roots to keep from alienating fans, but the idea of radio play is not fully out of the question here.

The album opener “Quite The Actor” is one of the strongest tracks and really puts the skill of the band up on a pedestal. The intricate and catchy guitar lead that goes throughout the song plays well off of the wordy vocal melody in the chorus. It brings to mind bands like Iron Chic, Alkaline Trio, and Weezer. The single problem here is that this opener sets the bar high for the rest of the album to live up to, and while most of the songs deliver, a few are not as memorable. The album closer “Still The Same” is another punk rock anthem that has kept me engaged for repeated listens. The catchy chorus and strong song structure work well together, especially for a genre that can be tricky to avoid tacky and tasteless cliches.

While I will admit, I Just Want to Go Back to Hell could cut a few filler tracks from the mid section of the album; none of the songs are out right bad. It just feels like this is a solid 12 song album, that could be a very strong 10 song album – who knows, maybe the songs need a bit more time to digest.

You Vandal are a great up and coming punk rock band that continue to pull off memorable and catchy pop punk. I recommend them to anyone who cares for modern punk rock and power pop. I really need to get my own act together and see them live when I get another opportunity – next time guys.