Warm Soda

Young Reckless Hearts

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    5
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When Matthew Melton started Warm Soda after the implosion of his previous group Bare Wires, he switched up his style a bit and opted for a stripped-down and precise power pop update instead of the pounding garage punk he had been doing. The first Warm Soda album worked really well because it made sure to retain plenty of his previous band's energy, and the songs were uniformly excellent examples of the good that can come from mixing up punk and pop. 2014's entry, Young Reckless Hearts, feels a bit warmed over and falls a little flat. Though Melton still has a way with a hook and there are really good songs here, they aren't served at all by the way they are recorded or performed. Throughout the record there's too much restraint and hesitance to cut loose; too little excitement or enthusiasm. This leads to a lackluster listening experience that makes one speculate that perhaps the band forgot to add the power half of the power pop equation. From Melton's whispered vocals to the politely struck drums to the way every song sounds like it was recorded at levels designed not to rouse a slumbering neighbor, the album just doesn't have any kick. If songs like the title track or "When Your Eyes Meet Mine" had louder guitars or more insistent performances, or if Melton would stop whispering and project a bit, they might make a big splash instead of a little plop. The songs that work best are the straight-up pop tunes, like "Things That We Said" and "Will I Still Want You? (When I Find You)," which actually benefit from the gentle touch. Really though, these songs are an exception, and Young Reckless Hearts comes off sounding more calculated than reckless, which is a real shame since their first album was so good.

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