Young Guns

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Strength comes from our bones – the knowledge that, deep down, nothing is impossible. `Bones`, the stunning new album from Young Guns, captures exactly that: it`s a hymn to bravery and boldness, the defining statement so far from one of our finest bands.

“We`ve written something that I feel happy describing as `brave`,” says frontman Gustav Wood, “and it will challenge a lot of people`s preconceptions about what sort of band we are. It`s an ambitious record, and we have the ambition to match the sound.”

Written over a number of months everywhere from Thailand to Spain to a shed in the band`s hometown of High Wycombe, `Bones` (recorded at Karma Sound Studio in Bang Saray, Thailand and subsequently mastered to tape) marks Young Guns` transition from a band packed with potential to bonafide contenders for the title of Britain`s best. It`s a stirring album full of contradictions – it speaks of strength and vulnerability, friendship and loss, energetic youth and heavy-hearted experience – that proudly displays Wood, John Taylor (guitar), Fraser Taylor (guitar), Simon Mitchell (bass) and Ben Jolliffe (drums)`s skyscraping vision, and in some style.`

“When you`re writing an album you need to believe that what you`re doing is the most important thing in the world,” continues Gustav. “And this feels like it is. It feels like we`ve achieved something.”

Having formed from the ashes of a variety of local bands, Young Guns` first release was the striking `Mirrors` EP in June 2009. But it wasn`t until debut album `All Our Kings Are Dead`, unveiled in July 2010, that they began to really show what they were capable of. Backed by a groundswell of popular support, the band hit magazine covers, headlined the HMV Forum in London, toured Australia and played the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals; in the backs of their minds, though, they knew they could do better.

And they were right.

Taken at face value, `Bones` feels effortless, but the work that went into it – the long hours, the nudging back of immutable deadlines, the worry, the sheer grind that comes with a genuinely democratic writing process – mirrors the band`s career to date. This is a story of victory by inches, not of instant boom (and inevitable, sad bust).

Young Guns backed themselves into a corner with their drive to comprehensively outdo `All Our Kings...`. After a handful of fruitless writing sessions, Gustav, Fraser and John spent a night in the studio with a couple of bottles of vodka and the desire to write a song their heroes would be proud of; when morning eventually came, they had the skeleton of `Dearly Departed`, a song that, once they`d taken it to the rest of the band and let them work their magic, would sit as one of the keystones of `Bones`. “Once we wrote that song, we knew we could really make a mark with this album,” says Wood.

The title track itself is another standout moment, a pure rock anthem in the most heroic sense.

“When you do something you know is good, that you know stands up... it`s bliss. Elation. We worked so hard on this album, and there were times when the stress was horrendous. When I finished tracking the vocals for `Bones` and we stood back and cranked it on the stereo at 4am, listening to what I knew would be a single that would do big things for us, that was overwhelming.”

From then on, the songs flowed: the title track, a howl of defiance; stunning opener `I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die`, a fearless statement of intent; lead single `Learn My Lesson`, a calling-card that`s as dynamic as it is catchy.

“It feels like I want to just kick people`s heads off,” smiles Gustav. “It sounds stupid but I just want to get out there and make a mark – it keeps me up at night, thinking about how much I want to do.”

Now, with `Bones`,Young Guns have started their second chapter. The underdogs have bared their teeth and shown what they`re really capable of, but while a whole new audience is about to be introduced to the wonder of Young Guns, the band themselves aren`t surprised how well the album turned out. They knew they could pull it off. They felt it in their bones.

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