Take a dash of post-rock and pop-punk and minus vocals and you can get an idea of what Youthful Endeavors by The Music Box sounds like. At first thought the genres couldn’t be any farther apart. Standard post-rock criteria are longer songs, grand epic sounding crescendos and completely instrumental while pop-punk is more aligned with young, nasally lead singers and a copious amount of power chords and brevity.
Freddy Marschall (guitar), Cody Unangst (bass), Nicholas Marciano (guitar) and Alex Frazzoni (drums) show us that the two genres coalesce better than most of us can imagine. The post-rock throughout the album veers more towards Explosions In The Sky rather than Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The guitars are bright and often reverb-laced with a tinge of delay, which often is a staple of post-rock. Sometimes the band without too much warning pours on some distortion and reminds you of a riff you might hear from Yellowcard. When they get it just right they are able to meld both.
The band kicks off with “Fractured.” They don’t waste much time getting to an explosive verse that certainly aims to what the band wants to do while also containing lead guitar work, which sounds like it comes from a Joe Satriani song. Pop-punk tendencies come out little after the two-minute mark. Everyone is on point but the Frazzoni barrage of drums is certainly impressive. Great opener.
The next song “Mindful Static” is just under a minute and felt like a transitional piece. It’s lush, ambient and even dream-like. I loved the bass line and brushwork. The band continues to bring the goods with “Salad Days.” It’s a compact song at just over three minutes. They hit a lot of peaks and transitions. I wasn’t expecting the celebration at around two minutes in.
“Tracey” is arguably the highlight. The song has some of the most epic and beautiful moments. There are some heavy parts on this song as well that suddenly and seamlessly transition into arrangements. They close with a relatively short song “Radio Flyer.” AlI I have to say is “snare roll.”
I can always appreciate a band that's tried something different but if they pull it off then it's a whole different level. Youthful Endeavors is the latter and continues to build a foundation for the band. Whether you are in pop-punk, post-rock or just good music this is a no-brainer.
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