On Myka Relocate’s second album The Young Souls they don’t so much tread new path as much as they do hone in on their definitive sound. Blending pop hooks, ambient electronics and metallic heaviness isn’t by any means a new idea. In fact, it may just be one of the most currently populated sounds.
Even with it being identifiable as contemporary beyond belief Myka Relocate play this sound with confidence and passion. Those two elements and an applied consistency are what carry The Young Souls. Though the dual vocal mechanics are the focus of the album it’s worth noting that they are refined from debut Lies To The Light The Way. When Michael Swank sings the sound is more upbeat, and top 40-worthy than it’s ever been. When John Ritter unleashes his aggressive roars the sound takes on a spirited blend of nu-metal and hardcore. When they work together they are nearly a more competent vocal duo than their long-established peers. “New Again”, the first single released for the album, probably proves this better than any other song on the twelve track affair. It brings with it a simple but affirming hook that elevates the catchy nature of the music to much success. Michael and John weave around each other, but always find their way back together when the hook reprises. Fantastically the heaviness is just as notable, especially when a surprisingly fast double bass section kicks in during the bridge. It’s these little bits and moments that help to separate Myka from their packed crowd of peers.
Certain sections of the album comes loaded with dynamic, be it from the tempo changes in “Bring You Home” or the emotional intensity of “Damage”. A personal favorite is the creepy soft nature of “Cold Hearts” that shifts swiftly to a heavy groove. The rhythm section in this song especially is heaps more mature than the restrained bounce of typical post-hardcore bands.
The Young Souls first half is arguably the better piece, however. The final half begins to drag, despite a great guest-appearance by Christian Koo, the vocalist of Alive In Standby, to lend “The Company You Keep” an R&B flavor. It’s just that the musicians display a limited bag of tricks that you can hear fully in the first half of the album. The album couldn’t possibly open any stronger with “Hide The Truth”, but by the time the closing title track rolls around it doesn’t hit as hard as it should. The Young Souls is at times TOO consistent. What ultimately holds the album back more than it should is its faithfulness to the tropes of the modern post-hardcore genre – vocal swells, predictable build-ups that lead to tired breakdowns, bouncy bottom-heavy riffs, Linkin Park-esque electronics. They’re all utilized well in select tracks, but their inclusions end up feeling more cliche than they do necessary. It’s worth citing the lyrics on the album for their wide array of emotions and relatable feelings as being one of the album’s strong suits.
Fitting a mold is easy these days. Myka Relocate have begun to expand their musicianship and personality with this album. They’re going to jump from underdog status to headlining contender if they can keep up the ambition. For now, The Young Souls will ignite plenty of crowd sing-alongs and pit destruction as reliably as it should. In a matter of months post-hardcore could have a new front-runner.