Release Date: Apr 30, 2013
Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop
Record label: Republic
Music Critic Score
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The debut from California indie pop buzz band Youngblood Hawke, 2013's Wake Up is an infectious, bombastic party album perfect for the summer months. Centered around vocalist Sam Martin and guitarist Simon Katz, Youngblood Hawke make dancey, often hummable melodic pop songs that bring to mind a mix of the new wave-influenced sound of MGMT, the slick studio pop of fun., and the psychedelic pop of the Flaming Lips. Included on Wake Up are such singles as "We Come Running" and "Stars (Hold On)." .
Review Summary: Entertaining and packed with energy, Youngblood Hawke shoots out of the cannon with an over-the-top debut that will please everyone and genuinely impress nobody.Everything about Youngblood Hawke screams “the next big thing”, from the ridiculous sense of excitement that explodes out of their songs to the sleek and shiny production that has caused a goddamn frenzy in the world of synth-pop. Wake Up is a sensationalized debut, channeling the tune sense and pure elation of bands such as Phoenix and Passion Pit into something that is, quite simply, brilliant fun. It does not fuse genres in any groundbreaking or innovative way, and there’s a good chance that in a couple of years we might even forget that this album exists.
It's not hard to see why Coca-Cola chose LA quintet Youngblood Hawke to soundtrack its new advert. Like the New Seekers 40 years before them, they are relentlessly chirpy and inclusive, their psychedelic pop designed to alienate no one. But bar a few tracks on their debut album – most notably Rootless and the glorious We Come Running, which makes fine use of a children's choir – they are neither as outre as the Polyphonic Spree nor as imaginative as the Flaming Lips.
Youngblood Hawke’s Wake Up takes the four cuts from their debut EP and adds eight more for a mostly satisfying full-length. They create colorful, elastic indie electro-pop and, most of the time, it measures up. Opener “Rootless” is a sprightly track, peppered with early ‘80s U2-style echoing guitars, nestled atop an insistent, pulsating groove that pushes the envelope of feeling cluttered, but never actually gets to that extreme, resulting in a song that pulls off a Goldilocks effect—just right.
Youngblood Hawke mean no harm. In fact, quite the opposite: the LA sextet's debut is robust and rambunctious, designed to dissolve those Monday morning blues. From the ashes of rap-rockers Iglu & Hartly, Sam Martin and Simon Katz formed a new band with old friends, and while they still make fizzing, frat-boy anthems, this time the party has swapped red plastic cups and apple bongs for tubs of tzatziki and kegs of Prozac.
The LA synth party that is Youngblood Hawke was born out of founding members Simon Katz and Sam Martin’s frustration with where their previous band was going; they wanted to make a fresh start. They grabbed three friends, formed Youngblood Hawke, and with the release of their first LP, Wake Up, they’ve arrived guns-a-blazin’ with happiness. As if the title wasn’t a call to attention, Wake Up is a non-stop onslaught of California-sun-soaked joy for your ears.