Picture Credit: Rakka Rakka Records
Picture Credit: Rakka Rakka Records

X-Ray Youth – All Washed Up
Release Date: September 07, 2022
Label: Rakka Rakka Records
Format: Album | Digital
Duration: 22:57 | 9 tracks
Genre: Punk Rock / Surf Punk
Origin: Florida, USA

There is a certain charm in bands that take a few decades to releases an album. Their stuff gets encapsulated in time and remains a pristine imprint of the time – like Pentagram, Failure, Refused and so on. X-Ray Youth fits this category perfectly, as they managed to release a full album after all, 23 years later.

„All Washed Up“ is not exactly a new album but a complete reworks collection of the band’s songs, that were previously released as demos or lives. Now they sound completely different (thanks to addition of bass) even though they keep the mood – and it’s an amalgamation of the whole 90’s as they were. The band goes everywhere from grungy lofi “ballads” to electrifying uptempo punk, but never going past the borders of the era.

‚Oh, the Guilt‘ starts with humming intimate vocals and slightly overdriven guitars, but then suddenly jumps straightly into pure surf punk territory. And this marks the bands signature sound which can be roughly described as a confusing but compelling mix of JFA, Agent Orange, Adolescents and Life of Agony, Soundgarden and Foo Fighters.

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‚Subcultures‘ has that strong Misfits vibe with a pinch of romantic alternative, and ‚So Please Let It Be You‘ deepens that slow grunge rock feeling with nirvanish vocals and Jane’s Addiction guitar work. ‚Is It You‘ offers more slowcore and emo thanks to simplistic songwriting. ‚And You Tell Me‘ is a kind of intermission consisting only of vocals and drums, that gently develops into bedroom punk of ‚Understandable Differences‘. The same is fair for ‚Oh, Teresa‘, a calm lo-fi combo with a familiar drum beat.

‚Charlie Chan‘ doubles down on the punk roots of the band, becoming slightly faster and “aggressive”, I guess. And ‚Platonic Friend‘ seals the deal with that moving energetic riffing and an uncertain mood, reminiscent of Hüsker Dü and Wipers.

X-Ray Youth precisely documents the transition between angry streetpunk and the lost youth of Gen X – and their name illustrates it well. The album does sound like a bastard child of X-Ray Spex and Wasted Youth. „All Washed Up“ is not an album that we wanted in 2022, but the one we needed. It sounds like it exists in vacuum, above all trends, production values or anything really – not calls to action, no political activism, only reflections on one’s inside world and routine.

It doesn’t sound like it took more than twenty years to release, it has always been here. As it is sung in ‚Big in Japan‘, things will happen when they can – and it is now time to open that parcel from the past, get in your parents‘ bedroom and experience existential dread once more, but with more expertise.

Text by Dmitriy Churilov

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