There’s hardly a shortage of quality British rock around at the minute, but what’s more difficult is finding something that actually stands out from the pack. That’s something that Brighton quartet The Gospel Youth are yet to nail, but fortunately their new EP Empires has the songs that allow it to stand on its own.

The five tracks that comprise this release take cues from Britrock’s major players, most noticeably You Me At Six’s big earworm melodies and the ‘nice guys finish first’ ethos of Mallory Knox. Opener Stay Positive would be a sure-fire smash in the hands of a more established act, while Lighting Fires‘ soaring gang vocals betray the intentions of far more widespread audiences. Most impressive though, is frontman Sam Little’s constantly stellar vocal performance, blaring when it needs to on the likes of the aformentioned Stay Positive, but toning down to a breathier, gentler tone on If She’s The Rope. It’s a versatility that’s absent in many up-and-coming bands, and is one of The Gospel Youth’s finest features as a band.

Where Empires falls down is that it lacks some of the bite of the band’s contemporaries, and occasionally feels – for want of a better word – too nice for its own good. If She’s The Rope‘s more pared back fare seriously lacks impact, and the twinkly chorus of Homesick sees the band straying into overly lachrymose territory that they would do well to avoid in the future. Despite this though, for a band still deep in its infancy, Empires is an incredibly strong start for The Gospel Youth. Whether it sees them scale the undeniably impressive heights of their influences remains to be seen, but the potential is definitely there. A bit more innovation would go down well, but there’s plenty of time for that – on this EP alone there’s ample proof of their promise, so it shouldn’t be long before its realised to its full potential.

7/10

For fans of: You Me At Six, Natives, The Cape Race
Words by Luke Nuttall

‘Empires’ by The Gospel Youth is released on 13th July on Speaking Tongues.

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