Winter is coming. That much is certain. As we prepare for the oncoming chills and towering skeletons that haunt our yards and woodlands, it's important to stock up on uplifting, joyous tunes. Unless you aim to wallow in your misery, winter is no time for dark melodies. After the Holiday season, Winter takes a turn for the worse, handing us a solid few dreary months to endure before the flowers greet us with open arms come Spring. Not to drone on about the gloomy months ahead, or make too many Game of Thrones references, but I just finished the second book of GOT and it's dreadfully cold outside. Thankfully I've been asked to premiere Urban Cone's US release of their new Our Youth EP, jolly enough to prompt a jive in even my snarly, sickened and sore legs.
Admittedly, Our Love first impressed me as another bit-ridden compilation of tunes I felt I'd heard plenty before, and I was quite frankly ready to dismiss this project before even starting. Yet, after dropping the sulk and giving it a few listens, it grew on me— and rather quickly. While it certainly doesn't boast a resume of completely new and fresh ingredients (more than half the contents are available in well done Video form for a while now), it doesn't need to. The EP exemplifies what Urban Cone is at it's finest, staying true to their roots and presenting honest, gritty, Dance/Pop.
Respectively, my initial hesitation on the album stemmed a bit from a year that has been full of cookie cutter Indie Pop, and across the board more sub par music than not. Urban Cone is not, and will likely never be, cookie cutter Indie Pop. Just from a quick glance on their history, one gathers their reliance on artistic integrity, something we are seeing less and less in today's twisted musical industry. They have managed to sign with arguably the most influential and wide spread media company in the world with Universal— yet have stood their ground, and done things their way. They record and produce in-house, design their own logos and artwork, and deliver a product that is truly them, nothing else. That in itself is a modern miracle in terms of up and coming bands signed to a major. Add in the fact that they've maintained their control and done it well– well… that's not short of extraordinary.
The EP bumbles along the wings of some familiar works, notably "Urban Photograph" and "Kings & Queens", while tying together in proper fashion with some lesser known and fresh new content. From start to finish the EP only loses steam once, doing so in order to reel the listener in for "Black Ocean", the one song on the album that doesn't maintain jolly agression throughout. In 5 tracks, the EP is short, yet thus is the nature of an EP. However short, the EP is energetic and quite frank, delving blatantly into the struggles of youth and the trials of rising up in this tumultuous world— yet it does so on the chord of happiness, and delivers a solemnly relatable message without being overly emotional, thus allowing the listener to find the joy in concepts often far from it. To me, that defines a perfect Winter album. It doesn't blind with far fetched fantasies, but it doesn't hanker reality down upon the listener in a way that burdens the mind. The EP delivers truth on the wings of infectious, ruffled Pop, and that in itself brought me out of the early Winter blues. I assume it will do the same for you.
Along with the EP, the band is hitting the US full throttle. They've put together a short burst of shows for us Yanks, so check the dates below and see if you can meander your way to one of these events: