he North East has been having a renaissance of late: Little Comets and Frankie & The Heartstrings both released great debut albums this year. This summer, Stockton-upon-Tees’s Young Rebel Set throw their hat into the ring with their first long player, ‘Curse Our Love’.
The first official single from the album, ‘Lion’s Mouth’, starts the album in fine style, with hard words and even harder rocking guitar grooves. This song seems to be in direct opposition in songs like the slower tempo numbers ‘Won’t Get Up Again’ and ‘Bagatelle’, released in May 2010 as part of the 'Won't Get Up Again' EP. If Noah & The Whale have gone all synth pop with ‘Last Day on Earth’, this album from Young Rebel Set shows the Stockton-on-Tees septet can scoot neatly into the place they have left.
Need evidence? ‘If I Was’ is a beautiful set of couplets detailing the sorrow of a man who is sadly missing his lost love, imagining what he would do to get back in her good graces if he was a sailor, a jailor, a writer and a painter, among other vocations. Lead vocalist / guitarist Matty Chipcase admits in the chorus, "I wasted so much time / writing songs and playing on my guitar / I wasted so much love / I wish I’d never learned to play a note." It’s completely unpretentious; you’re being let in on the heartfelt aching from a sad musician, and your heart aches in time to his.
Feel good piano and guitar chords; thudding driving drums, and an engaging chorus make ‘Walk On’ a winner. The poppy melody and inspirational chorus (“have a little more faith!”) of ‘Borders’ will serve Young Rebel Set well this summer: it seems modeled after Billy Joel’s crowd pleasers, and this is the kind of song you and your mates, while slightly drunk at a festival, will want to raise your glasses to. 'Fall Hard' is cut from a similar cloth; it's a little slower but it's just as satisfying. 'Precious Days' threatens to be another festival winner, with its country jamboree sensibility, harmonica wails and jaunty rhythm. This and 'Measure of a Man' should please the Mumford & Sons fans that want a new indie folk band to support. 'Red Bricks' starts slowly but halfway through turns into something much more expansive. Good stuff.
This is a no-brainer. Filled to the brim with singalong choruses, deep, emotional numbers and equally fun upbeat ones, 'Curse Our Love' by Young Rebel Set should be in your record collection.