Album Review: Young Pioneer – When Does The Night End
One of my favorite parts of getting to interview a band before I’ve listened to the album we are discussing is getting some insights into their writing and recording process. I know some artists do not like to indulge fans in this process or meaning behind their songs because they feel it will change what their music means to their fans. For me it actually adds to the music and, if anything, makes it even more personal if I have a deeper understanding of what went into it. Which is why I put off reviewing Young Pioneer’s debut full length LP, When Does The Night End until after talking with vocalist, Ben Awrey, and guitarist, Mitch Howell. I just knew I would enjoy it more after learning even just the tiniest tidbit about what the guys put into it.
The first thing I noticed about the album is that it sounds a bit brighter and more polished than their first release, the Signals EP, released when the guys were still going as Signals. While I enjoyed the EP, overall the songs feel a bit disjointed. Through my interview I learned that this is because Awrey was not involved in the complete writing process, only adding the lyrics to the already finished tracks . Listening to When Does The Night End, album feels more cohesive and complete with a much cleaner sound that shows that the quintet have grown in the short year and a half between releases.
You’ll hear the difference immediately on opening track, “Dead Man’s Dream.” Bright guitars over tight drums kick the track off in a big way, backing off when Awrey’s vocals begin on the first verse. The lyrics and vocals feel like part of the music rather than an afterthought molded to fit what was already laid down. The glistening guitars and affecting lyrics featured throughout When Does The Night End calls to mind some of my favorite tracks from Anberlin and Copeland. You won’t catch your breath between “Dead Man’s Dream” and “Playing Pretend” as driving guitars that give a glimpse of where Young Pioneers started with their Signals EP.
What Young Pioneer does best is craft tracks that are catchy and affecting. Songs like “Let’s Be Alive” and “Sting Like This” are meant to be played at full volume while you sing along at the top of your longs. They are different from each other, the first being more of an indie rock anthem with a hook of a chorus that has been stuck in my head for days now while the latter is a bit of a alternative rock anthem that shows a bit of the rock roots that the band started out with on the Signals EP. Some of the best moments are on the simpler tracks like “From the Start” and album closer “Night’s End” that show that even when keeping things simple Young Pioneer can craft poignant tracks that will have you hitting repeat and listening to the album again and again.
After talking to Mitch and Ben I’m finding that I’m liking the album the more and more I listen to it. I look forward to continuing to listen to When Does The Night End as well as finding out where Young Pioneer takes me next on their musical journey.