Young Rapids: Pretty Ugly

Washington, D.C. has a notoriously solid music scene –and no exception to that is Young Rapids. The band had an initial slow start as members had met and began playing with various ideas for songs. In 2012, these efforts came to fruition with the band’s debut album, “Day Light Savings.” Just three years later and Young Rapids is now releasing their sophomore album, Pretty Ugly.

Young Rapids, as a band carry a very distinctive style, demonstrated from the start of their album with “Someone Help The Ghost.” The track really surges forward with a hefty combination of a standout guitar melody and singing that just seems to explode out. All the while, the song balances with calm, almost ambient periods where the drums keep you on the edge of your seat. The entire song is very math-rocky, yet plays out like some sort of classically composed masterpiece. At the other end of the spectrum, a tune like “Melt” helps ease out some of the adrenaline throughout the album, and also features the entire band at their best. The pairing of keys with their dreamy melodies, and the bass line that really shines through in this song, both just blend so well. The entire band merges like a single voice and works some serious magic.

Pretty Ugly has a fantastic, multifaceted sound to it. Young Rapids delivers a series of mesmerizing melodies, that all put forward their own intonation –varying textures and dynamics. Every song really has a personality of its own. Whether Young Rapids is fleshing out a melody with a complex guitar riff, or utilizing the hauntingly smooth yet powerful vocals of Dan Gleason –the band just refuses to let up in providing a truly powerful musical experience.

At points, the album is almost exploding with energy, other times, the band manages to turn things down a bit and give off melancholic or bittersweet feelings. “Tongue Turns Black,” is a key example. The song begins pairing electronic notes and a simple, poppy percussive beat. Gleason’s singing seems to ring out with less energy than ever before, giving off an almost defeated sound. As the song progresses and adds more texture, things seem to just get more emotional. Pretty Ugly’s ability to evoke so much emotion is intense and adds personality behind every track.

Pretty Ugly is jaw droppingly good and Young Rapids couldn’t have done a better job. From the start of the album, until the end, you will be inevitably wrapped into one of the most outstanding rock albums. The band did a lot more than just write great songs, they refined every little bit of this album. All in all, Pretty Ugly is great, extremely well made, and just plain memorable.

Rating: 10/10
Buy: Chimes Records