Review: Ones and Zeros

Hello altrocklifers! It’s good to be back blogging again after my exam hiatus, and what better way to welcome you back than with a review of Young Guns’ latest album, Ones and Zeros.

Ones and Zeros is the third album by the Buckinghamshire five piece, a band who have consistently evolved stylistically from record to record.  I doubt I was the only Young Guns fan surprised by I Want Out, the first single released from their latest album.  It was definitely a change of pace, with a lot more electronic influences, but deep down at its core the track is still unmistakably them.  If you missed it when it was released last August, here’s the music video for you to check out:

Admittedly, once the second single Speaking in Tongues was released, I started to feel a little worried about what Ones And Zeros would be like.  I wasn’t a massive fan on the first listen, feeling like the track had lost its alternative rock roots and was leaning too far towards electronic or dance music.  The track has grown on me though!  Plus, the release of the third single, Daylight, managed to win me over and get me excited for the album once again.

The album opener, Rising Up, is an explosive yet atmospheric start, combining heavy guitar riffs, synthesisers and strings, which makes it sound almost orchestral.  It’s obvious that the band are still making good use of vocalist Gustav Wood’s distinctive voice.

Lullaby is a mid-album change of pace, which forces you to take a step back and really listen to the lyrics.  However the album quickly picks back up again with the distinctive introduction of Daylight.  The fast-paced guitars during Colour Blind are awesome, and if you’re a fan of strings, Die On Time is likely to be your favourite track from the album.

For die hard rock ‘n’ roll fans, Ones and Zeros might not be the best album for you.  However, if you’re more open minded when it comes to combining genres, you should definitely give this record a try.

With 12 tracks clocking in at just over 45 minutes, this album is a fairly significant effort.  With just under three years between their second album, Bones, and their latest record, I’ve been chomping at the bit for more music from Young Guns.  While it’s obvious that each of the tracks belong to Ones and Zeros, each one has its own defining elements that made me feel like I was in my own little world listening to each track.

The big question, however, is will Ones and Zeros top Bones as my favourite album by the Buckinghamshire five piece?  Bones has a special place in my heart, and it’s probably one of my favourite albums of all time, so understandably I had big expectations for Young Guns’ third record.  Stylistically they have their differences, which makes them pretty difficult to compare.  Right now, I think the scales tip towards the direction of Bones, but who knows?  I’m sure I’ll be giving Ones and Zeros many, many more listens, so it could come out on top after all.

Highlights: Memento Mori, Daylight, Gravity, Ones and Zeros