Yungblud is the king of the misfits; proudly screeching on behalf of the ‘underrated youth’, 25 year-old Dominic Harrison has slowly become the torchbearer of the weird, the wild and the misunderstood. 2020’s ‘Weird!’ truly cemented Yungblud’s place as the alt scene’s lovable scoundrel, bursting with charmingly chaotic soundscapes and bold, genre-blending anthems. Three albums in, however, it sounds like Yungblud’s scrappy brand of indie-rock is attempting to clean up its act. Ultimately, self-titled release ‘Yungblud’ proves that sometimes the hardest act to follow can be yourself; while certain tracks are gold-standard belters, Yungblud shoots for maturity at the cost of the raw, chaotic charm that put him on the map.
The highlights of ‘Yungblud’ absolutely shimmer. Opening track ‘The Funeral’ is indie-rock bliss, a timeless, pint-to-the-sky anthem, capturing the sticky-floor euphoria commonly associated with bands like the Courteeners. ‘Tissues’ captures an equally indie-centric glimmer, while ‘The Boy In The Black Dress’ knocks out a glorious bassline, the thrum ringing out like something you’d have heard at Spike Island.
Yungblud hasn’t decided to entirely transform into an indie icon, however. ‘The Emperor’ is perhaps the finest embodiment of Yungblud’s ever-present thirst for energy; with an adrenaline-junkie attitude and drum and bass inflections, ‘The Emperor’ IS Yungblud, plain and simple. Originally written when Harrison was seventeen, that gloriously unhinged energy is abundant – it’s a track that screams messy eyeliner, pink socks and chipped black nail polish. Sharp, quick and cheeky, this is a track you’d show someone if you wanted them to understand what Yungblud has to offer.
Elsewhere, ‘Don’t Feel Like Feeling Sad Today’ is also the perfect track to understand Yungblud’s mission statement. Transforming negativity into something bright, buoyant and beautiful, Yungblud is dead-set on lifting the spirits of his fans. ‘Don’t Go’s sound is equally as sunshine-drenched, with a bouncy flow that will fill you with bustling, giddy joy.
However, ‘Yungblud’s shimmering stand-out tracks only cast a shadow on their less fleshed out counterparts. Tracks like ‘Cruel Kids’, ‘Mad’ and ‘Sex And Violence’ are lyrically shallow, paling in comparison to tracks like the deeply poignant ‘Die For A Night’ or ‘The Boy In The Black Dress’. There’s an attempt at capturing diary-entry-like reflections over bright, clean production, but they don’t feel developed enough to truly strike a chord. Frustratingly, those hollow-feeling tracks detract from the overall release; with surface-level musings, it at times feels like an inauthentic ploy to appeal to the listener rather than something from the heart.
While Harrsion has stated that this release is the most Yungblud release to date, we’re not sure it’s his strongest. ‘Weird!’ served as a perfect step up from 2018 debut ‘21st Century Liability’, knocking out socio-political commentary and bold genre moves while still feeling authentic and brazen, yet ‘Yungblud’ doesn’t capture that same evolutionary feel. ‘Yungblud’ has some of Harrison’s best tracks to date, but, as a whole, it’s not refined enough to be his magnum opus.
Words: Emily Swingle