Young Culture - (This Is) Heaven EP
6.8Overall Score

Young Culture, (This Is) Heaven
Rude Records

Albany pop-punk outfit Young Culture’s latest EP, (This Is) Heaven, consists of five perfectly pleasant pop-rock songs – for fans of the genre, this is a very accessible listen, but for those eager for something more original to sink their teeth into, the record may fall short.

Young Culture have connections within the pop-punk scene; sections of the record were produced by State Champs’ Derek DiScanio, who has featured on previous songs, and his influence is clear. (This Is) Heaven sounds like a heavily toned-down State Champs or WSTR release – pastel pop-punk, if you will. Singles 21 Days and Drift have the potential to be absolute bangers, but they feel held back; some thrumming drum fills or chugging basslines to fill out the mix would stop the tracks feeling as bland as they do.

Alex Magnan’s vocals are by far the highlight of the EP. Opener Deluxe feels very current All Time Low, but without the slightly overused pop-punk twang – instead, Magnan’s vocals are very natural and flow along with the soft chords of the chorus. The track feels cohesive, even if it is derivative at times. Breathe It In has hints of Jimmy Eat World in its chorus; it’s a summery-sounding, positive anthem, and the record’s highlight.

(This Is) Heaven’s lyrics are its predominant downfall; we’re finally coming to a point where pop-punk bands have stopped whining about relationship failures and started addressing more pressing issues, but Young Culture revert to clichés like ‘my smile’s turned to a frown, I always wanted you around’ on Drift, and ‘you’re not the one I want to have, if you can’t want me for who I am’ on Never Changed. It’s forgivable, however, for so early on in the band’s career; they’re apt songwriters, and there’s no doubt that their sound will develop and feel more unique with time and experience.

(This Is) Heaven is out today via Rude Records.