Exclusive: Stream King Youngblood’s Massive ‘BIG THANK’
By Nathan Leigh
May 12, 2022
“I don’t wanna take your words for granted
I don’t wanna lose my line of sight
I just wanna be the new tomorrow
Why the fuck you hesitating?
Get up out my way or come on”
Since exploding onto the scene with 2020’s highlight single “Yakubian Antics,” King Youngblood have been on a mission to strip alt rock down to its foundation and build it back up in their own image. Led by activist Cameron Lavi-Jones, the band’s best material underpins his earnest and emotional lyrics with a pursuit of social justice. He has a gift for massive hooks and circuitous riffs that deepen with each listen. This is a band that is determined to wedge itself in your subconscious and the only cure is more King Youngblood. Lucky for you, we have exactly what you need: an exclusive stream of their debut record.
Kicking off with the sardonic title track, the band structures the album like a great live set, expertly pacing the anthems with their more introspective material. This is a band with their heart in the DIY and their eyes on the stadium, switching from the devastating “A Thousand Songs” to the indomitable “THREAD.” Their songs churn with honest emotional intensity and melodies that demand a thousand voices singing along, a notion not lost on them during the cathartic breakdown to “cried in my cadillac.”
There’s not a skippable song in the set. Lead single “Home Is Only a House” crackles with electric energy before launching into the unexpectedly fun (and deeply relatable) “god i am exhausted.” For a band whose songs range from ragers against the state of the world, heartbreak, and mental health struggles, the wit and humanity with which their lyrics treat their heavy subject matter buoys the material.
“My therapist said ‘take your time,
only permanent thing is change.'”
Keeping to their punk rock roots, the band rarely foregrounds the technical heights they’re capable of, but glimpses peak through in the epic solo in “god i am exhausted” or Chet Peterson’s tense cello work that opens “NEW TOMORROW.” Of course, they save the best for last with the stunning album-closing ballad “all in one room.” Since time immemorial, punk bands (and their emo cousins) have treated the ballad as an obligation, shoehorning exactly one soft song into a set of pit fodder whether it needs it or not. King Youngblood as they so often do flips the script turning in a song that aches with a hope for a future built on love. Where so many of their songs bristle with contention looking at what is and finding it lacking, they close with a reflection on what could be.
Lavi-Jones tells us: “BIG THANK is an album about acknowledging just how godamn hard growing into yourself is. A lot of this album was written as I was navigating experiences ranging from more personal ones to bigger picture ones, both before and during the pandemic. I mean, coming into myself in my early 20s has been a reflection of my experiences in college, in relationships, with mental health struggles, with identity struggles, with racial justice and visibility, all that. Those things don’t affect you in a vacuum either, they swirl together and become something much bigger than the individual elements, let alone stacking the pandemic on top of it. For King Youngblood, music has always been an outlet- a medium to convert negative emotions, experiences, or even simply ones we don’t understand, and through the process of songwriting, convert them into something we get to be proud of. Something we get to shout at the top of our lungs with other people that feel seen by our music. Something we get to reclaim in response to the obstacles that impact our daily lives. Considering the circumstances, I am so proud that we are all still here and more specifically, that we’ve been able to become even more dialed in after trudging through these fires. We came out on the other side not just with an album that is the truest representation of us to date, but as individuals who took the time to learn the lessons those experiences gave us. Now, we’re a little more equipped for the work ahead in all capacities.”
Follow King Youngblood @kingyoungbloodmusic for more.
Get The Latest
Signup for the AFROPUNK newsletter