With press materials that advertise the band members as fans lots of post-punk artists and whom make music that has “the soaring arpeggios of U2 to 90s distortion”, Young Harbor aren’t hedging their bets. That could cover quite a wide spectrum of rock-oriented music. They go on to claim their sound applies a “unique” approach to vocals (predictably, it doesn’t). On paper, they are a band that seems too keen to impress. [They also claim to be big fans of The Smiths, so perhaps not … At the time of this EP’s release, it might’ve been better to keep such things quiet.]
Moving on from their own hype, thankfully, the actual music on their 2019 EP is very strong all round. Right from the off, their love of angular post-punk is in place. During the lead track ‘The City Has A Charm’, the band channel little bits of Wire and Gang of Four into a more melodic structure, weaving a punchy bassline in and out of a chopping rhythm guitar, while a heavily treated vocal adds extra retro cool. Of course, by making such things more commercial, the core sound often sounds so much more like Franz Ferdinand than anything truly post-punk, but with a massive hook at play, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A brief guitar solo adds a high pitched soaring sound, almost as if inspired by U2’s The Edge circa 1983 but instead of using this as a huge feature, it’s more of an interlude; the band clearly understands the main melody and chorus hook are more important than any over-indulgence.