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The Younglings — The Younglings

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The album bounds to a start with a drum cascade firmly out of the Queens of the Stone Age bible before making a firm turn with an old-school guitar riff that devolves into sparse verses and fleshed-out choruses. “Take My Hand” follows a similar path, if lighter and prettier, that veers into snotty series of “nah nah nahs” in a fun twist.

“Paradise PL.” is the most traditional take found here, a swampy, bar-friendly jam with perfectly placed axe strikes. “Kings & Queens” steals the spotlight midway through the album, a polished effort that finds its soul in a grunge-adjacent stairstep that eventually gets ripped up into a thunderous indie bridge.

The rest trade off between satisfactory rockers (“What Have I Done”) and sleepy ballads (“Run, Run, Run”) before coming to a close.

There are moments and choices that sway toward paint-by-number territory, reading more as required than inspired; but when the duo colors outside the lines, as it does in the cocky “Lead Along,” sharp-edged “Shelter” and aforementioned “Kings & Queens,” the result sits right in line with the bands The Younglings are openly aspiring to. — Joshua Boydston

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