Sauna Youth – Dreamlands – EP review

Sauna Youth – Dreamlands (Faux Discsx / Gringo Records)
Released 3 September 2012

Surfy, fuzzy guitars and perfect punk rock – the hard-hitting EP from London’s Sauna Youth.

Sauna Youth’s facebook biography asks: “Why can’t you be the Ramones and Steve Reich in much the same way Kurt Cobain once asked ”Ëœwhy can’t you be Black Sabbath and the Beatles?’” In the vein of vintage garage rock and driven by minimalist sensibilities, Sauna Youth presents an catchy, DIY brand of punk rock in their EP Dreamlands. Exploding with energy and just 23 minutes long, Dreamlands is an incredible ride into punk rock’s contemporary chapter.

“Possibilities mean so much more than realities these days,” a female voice reads on the lead-off track, “Town Called Distraction.” Themes of self-consciousness, money and compulsive inclinations are presented with deadpan vocals in a spoken word style. The fuzzy guitars and drums are drenched in reverb, which threatens to outweigh the sometimes inaudible words.

“Town Called Distraction” is a visceral way to start off a heavy-hitting EP. It is one of those tracks that grabs your attention and holds it for a while. When the record twists into track two, a up-tempo number called “Planned Designs,” the pace shifts towards textbook punk rock. It’s a sweet combination.

Track three, one of my favorites from Dreamlands, is a raucous punk tune called “Snap Back” that features characteristically fast instrumentation and runs just two minutes. Song number three follows quickly on its heels. It is “PSI Girls,” which Sauna Youth released weeks ago as an album preview. Though its pace is more subdued than other tracks on the record, the tempo picks up with “Hairstyles,” another incredible song that promises an exciting live performance.

Dreamlands closes with “Viscount Discount,” which features a swirling, nearly surfy, guitar part. It’s a strong way to end a strong disc.

Dreamlands, with all of its churning, edgy and do-it-yourself glory, has inspired me to ask, “Have you heard of Sauna Youth?” to nearly every friend and acquaintance in my vicinity. Their sound is infectious. Perhaps more than most bands I’ve been introduced lately, I’m extraordinarily excited to explore more from sounds these Londoners. Truthfully, I cannot name a single track that I didn’t very much enjoy. If that isn’t the mark of a solid EP, I’m not sure what is.

All words by Maren McGlashan. You can read more from Maren on LTW here.

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Maren lives on the East Coast of the United States. She is a film student with an interest in sound design, with dreams of becoming a Foley artist. Maren is into vintage punk rock, edgy fashion and DIY culture. She hasn\'t made the transition from CD to mp3, and has a killer LP collection. We\'re still waiting for her to enter the 21st century...


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