Young Culture "(This is) Heaven" Review

(This is) Heaven, the label debut EP from Albany, NY pop punk band Young Culture, is a collection of five songs that comprise a loose summary of the last year of frontman Alex Magnan’s life, and the result is an emotionally charged and lyric-driven EP that feels deeply personal and easy to connect with.

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Track one, “Deluxe,” kicks off with a swelling intro that demands to be cranked in the speakers, before the verse cleans up and tames. The chorus hits very impactfully as Magnan sings about the difficulty of letting go of and moving on from things that once meant a lot. With lyrics such as “I can’t help but think I deserve something more” and “I relapsed, but I’m healing,” this theme of moving forward in spite of obstacles is illustrated in such a way that anyone can relate. Track two, “Breathe It In,” begs to be danced to, with its filtered drum intro and vocals complimented by a verse melody that is catchy and infectious. The chorus maintains the groove of the verse as it opens up into a sing-along anthem. “21 Days” keeps the energy up with smooth guitar riffs and hard-hitting choruses, a trademark for this band.

“Never Changed” switches up the mood of this record with more ambient and atmospheric vibes, marrying electronic sounds with clean and chiming guitars as the vocals float above the instrumentation, singing both delicately and powerfully about personal growth, a theme that is present throughout much of this record, this song specifically being about leaving behind someone who is no longer reciprocating love or effort. The record wraps up with “Drift,” a story of the highs and lows of self-doubt and learning to free oneself of another’s grasp and find one’s own way. “My lungs are filled with smoke and regret, I’m losing oxygen every single time I breathe you in” vividly illustrates the feeling of being reliant on something or someone who is appealing but very apparent to be harmful.

“Drift” serves as a fitting end-cap to the record, as it perfectly encompasses all the musical and lyrical elements that are present throughout the EP. (This is) Heaven is a most impressive debut for Young Culture, showcasing lyrical relatability and musical versatility that will be sure to help them broaden their following.

By Trevor Hancock