All hail the return of arena rock. Austin-based Young Heart Attack has resurrected classic rock back to its glory days with their first release, a 4-song EP titled Mouthful of Love and featuring loud, aggressive songs full of screeching vocals and scorching guitar solos. It’s as if the band was frozen in time circa 1976 with a treasure trove of songs and was told nothing about current music trends when it was reanimated.
The band’s live performances have had both the music industry and public buzzing about comparisons to the Stooges and AC/DC. This EP showcases the band’s classic-rock roots, making it the perfect continuation of the kick-ass energy and ear-splitting hooks displayed live. On Mouthful of Love, instead of becoming a parody of classic stadium rock bands, YHA lovingly recreate the sound. And the EP is near-perfect, featuring songs that are blistering and raw and, above all else, uncomplicated, taking the best of classic rock.
The band has its contemporaries, but its the band’s power and energy, stemming from the vocals of co-leads Chris Hodges and Jennifer Stephens, separates it from the pack. It’s a delicate balance between Hodge’s high-pitched yelling and Stephens’ vocal sexiness, and the two leads coyly play off each other, adding depth and strength to the songs to form a give-take/ boy-girl vocal style similar to the one John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X had. Those vocals, paired with the amped-up, blues-rock riffs and snarling guitar solos displayed by guitarist Frenchie, give listeners a sonic cardiac arrest; each song gathers steam with a blazing, spot-on delivery.
Mouthful of Love boldly includes a cover of “Over and Over” by MC5, which could have been a huge failure. But the band managed to recreate the song, possibly making it more relevant, powerful and exciting than the original. The group’s constant surge of energy, paired with the irresistible chorus sang by Stephens and Frenchie’s electrifying guitar solos, completely transformed the classic.
“Tommy Shots” is a great drinking song and “Mouthful of Love” a well written love song. Plus, they’ve got quality lyrics, including “I can’t eat and I can’t sleep/ I get sick of all of this/ I wanna be by your side/ I got nothing to lose/ I don’t know what you been told/ There’s nothing sweeter than your hold” from “To the Teeth.”
Simply put, Mouthful of Love is fast-paced, adrenaline-building, heart-racing, fist-pumping, good ol’ classic American rock ‘n’ roll, without the posturing and full of attitude — the perfect tease that makes the wait for a full-length follow-up agonizing. Long live rock ‘n’ roll; long live Young Heart Attack.