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Album Review: Zero Worship by Young Legionnaire

Young Legionnaire release their sophomore album Zero Worship via Superstar Destroyer Records on 25th November. Coming five years after their enthralling debut Crisis Works, this is an album that delivers big, hard hitting alt rock. With sporadic moments of magic, it’s an album that promises much and grows on you.

Comprising former Yourcodenameis:milo frontman Paul Mullen, ex-Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes and Dean Pearson on drums, Young Legionnaire blend taut melodies, math and post-rock influences in a carefully crafted wall of distortion. They’ve got the pedigree, you’ve got the expectations yet unfortunately you can’t help but feel the album falls slightly short.

The album gets off to an auspicious with the start-stop math rock of ‘Heart Attack’ and the alt rock drive of ‘Hail, Hail’ – both good songs but you feel that they should be setting up something better, it feels like the band testing the water and finding their feet. Couple that with the slow drive of ‘Simone’ and you’re beginning to beg for Young Legionnaire to realise their potential and deliver a big stomping track.

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While these tracks do grow on you and after a couple of listens they kind of realise their potential the band deliver up and absolutely phenomenal track in the blisteringly powerful ‘Candidate’. It builds and explodes with visceral power and a simmering anger that excites on every listen. ‘Balaclava’ follows with a brilliant alt rock energy akin to the best tracks on Crisis. It’s at this point that you think Zero Worship is going to be something special.

It doesn’t quite work out that way. ‘Sawn-Off Shotgun’ has the potential to be great, you want to get on-board with it but it’s just a little too discordant and difficult. ‘You And Me’ takes more of a personal tone, feeling intimate and lovelorn rather than the societal fuck you of the rest of album. Lyrically you feel it works well and it stands alongside ‘Candidate’ and ‘Balaclava’ as one of the best tracks on Zero Worship. ‘Hospital Corners’ is a good alt rock track without being anything special before ‘Disappear’ delivers with the storming up-tempo anthemic tones you’d expect from a lead single. Album closer ‘There Will Be An Escape Hatch’ completes the mixed bag, as Mullen sings “Just leave the notes behind. Leave them to drift up to the clouds,” it tries to say something, make an impact but just comes up slightly short.

Zero Worship is a good, if slightly disappointing album. Perhaps our expectations were a little too high. It worthy of your time and attention, you just feel that as it’s a grower it may get lost amongst the torrent of new music.

AD Rating 6.5/10

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