Review || Gloo - "A Pathetic Youth"

On November 29th 2019, Sussex punk rockers Gloo reissued their debut album, "A Pathetic Youth", following the announcement of their signing to Hassle Records. The album, with overall duration a little less than 30', contains 10 tracks of defiant, in-your-face attitude.

Upon the first spin, "A Pathetic Youth" painted a very specific mental image in my head. Sunny day. Teenagers gathered around a skate park, cool kids doing tricks with their skate boards, people chugging beer and having a good time. All we're missing now is a good soundtrack to set the mood. Queue the opening track, "Holiday". This feeling is quite prevalent in the album which, although quite fresh, feels like it could have been the soundtrack to a documentary on youth culture, a sports competition or the videos of a pro athlete demonstrating their abilities. The songs are short but on point, giving an electrifying kick. The tone of the vocals, however, feels almost snide and challenging, as we grow accustomed to the cynical lyrics. One thing we can certainly attribute to punk rock is being the universal language that bridges and translates the feelings of frustration of people all over ther the world. "A Pathetic Youth" has a character of its own. It is uniformal with a very similar pattern on all compositions which on one hand feels natural and allows it to flow smoothly, but on the other, I find that it fails make a bold change in order to reach a climax, both vocally and structurally. This is clearly a matter of personal taste but despite that, the songs still manage to maintain a certain dynamic. If I had to pick favorites, I would probably go with "Holiday", "Force You", "Act My Age" and "Pissheads". 
On a final note, I find there's an inherently British trait in their sound -and no, I'm not talking about the accent of the vocals. Underneath the distortion and the garage-y character of the songs, there is a strong late '70s street punk influence (I sense The Partisans vibes most notably) which also carries a similar angst to what the youth of the working class in that era. If we accept that some things never change, it comes as no surprise that the UK sees such a revival in genres that are considered "vile" or "abnormal" by standard societal norms.

Overall, Gloo did a pretty good job on their debut album. "A Pathetic Youth" is a product of its time and bears the strong feelings of an underground/underrepresented movement on the rise. It expresses the worries of its creators and brings along a revolutionary spirit. It may take a while for the album to fully grow on a person who is not familiar with this scene but if you're into punk rock/pop punk/garage, this is an album you should definitely check out.
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