Review by Paul Broome
Worcester quartet Hey You Guys! have been making a few waves of late with some prominent support slots so the debut album is arriving at the perfect time, and it shows in thirteen succinct and focused tracks why they’ve grabbed the attention of so many in so brief a period of time (having only formed at the start of last year). There’s also a bit more substance involved here than the Goonies-inspired bubble-gum band name may suggest at first glance – so withhold any derision until you’ve at least given them a go.
The title track kicks things off in a frenzied, liberated and unruly manner – all sharp-cornered riff and rambling vocal exclamations. A heavy bass-led refrain ushers in ‘Earth 616’ and the album settles into itself. ‘Berlin, Your Dancing Partner Is Death’ shows quite a lot of maturity and confidence in its vocal melody and structure. What I like about HYG! is that just when you think things may be headed in a predictable pop-punk direction, the songs turn a sharp corner and instantly redeem themselves. There’s a definite edge to the vocal performances and production that keeps everything on the right side of credible.
‘Star Signs’ is positively anthemic, and even manages to squeeze a lovely little unexpected tempo down change into its two minutes forty running time. ‘Record Deal’ is a great slice of punk rock (albeit with an anti-punk sentiment), it’s my highlight of the album, and features its finest couplet: “We’re not Richey Manic, but we’re 4 real/Who have we got to fuck to get a record deal?” (Although I’m equally fond of the “Stereo-pissing-phonics?!” exclamation toward the end, having said that.)
‘Saturday’ is a veritable epic, being the only track that exceeds three minutes in length, and has somewhat of an Undertones vibe to it. While ‘Keston Villers’ Investment Club’ re-introduces the chaotic rampant vocal delivery – and personally, it’s in these kinds of moments that I think HYG! are at their strongest. Infectious stuff: accessible, but full of attitude.
If you’re looking for some new punk classics for your punk rock party, then Hey You Guys! should be the first stop on your shopping trip. Equally if you appreciate music that is unfettered by a desire to play things by the book, then also give them a shot. It’s liberated punk rock with a pop sensibility, but it’s definitely not pop punk. Don’t be confused. It’s got too much stomp and shouting for the littler kiddies.
7.5 out of 10
- GASP! SHOCK! HORROR!
- Earth 616
- Berlin, Your Dancing Partner Is Death
- Star Signs
- Record Deal
- Keston Villers’ Investment Club
- New Year (End Of Decade)
- Joy Mining
- Bros. Alright
- JMK-VS-FVH (Fruity)
- The Whiter Shade Of Pale
- The Three Ronnies