The Wild Young Hearts are a pop-punk band from Southern California consisting of Robert Laffoon (guitar/vocals), Garrett Warren (bass/vocals) and newcomer, Jordan Hayes (drums); the three-piece mainly sing about shenanigans, good times and girls, with that combination you can’t help but get a good foot tapping session going on. So, say bye-bye to those unwanted calories with their latest release, Hoodlums.
Take ‘You Can’t See Me’ for example, a song that is half wrestling promo and half rap battle towards some pesky neighbors. Unless you were aware of Robb’s ventures into pro wrestling and playing at events such as Go-Go Lucha; a mix of punk rock and Lucha Libre wrestling, that fact might not jump out at you. Although ‘You Can’t See Me’ is an obvious nod to Super Cena and perhaps one of the catchier songs on the album.
Fast forward to one of the high points of Hoodlums, ‘She’s High’ uses simple guitar riffs and clever lyrics to create a somewhat familiar sound akin to a powerhouse such as Weezer; it doesn’t end there, ‘My Oldest Friend’ uses catchy melodies that were forgotten in the 90’s, revamping them and creating a sound that you won’t find every day. Flip over to the B-side and you’re hit by a left hook from out of nowhere, ‘B.T.W’ is a face paced effort that chugs along with fantastic harmonies, only slowing down to highlight a tight bass line.
The later part of ‘Hoodlums’ shows another side of the band, that life isn’t always peachy, even in California and its perfect weather. Already Dead is written in response to Donald Trump being elected as America’s leader and the police brutality that is dampening the American dream. The album ends on a ultra-somber note, an open letter from Garrett to his brother, who passed away last year. A standout, not only because of the drastic difference in the sound of ‘Every Time’ and the rest of Hoodlums, but it may be the best vocal effort on the whole album.
Hoodlums is a running commentary of the past year in the life of The Wild Young Hearts and with no doubt was shaped by many trips via train or bus to sunny San Diego to record the album and get burrito wasted; hence the toms driven catchy diddy ‘San Diego Calling.’ It also signals growth in many ways for the band, one being the newfound vocal distribution allowing for some memorable harmonies, there’s a great contrast of vocals between Robb and Garrett that adds great depth. With all that being said, if you want to go for a drive this winter and pretend to be in sunny California, pick up Hoodlums and close your eyes; you’re there.