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Mouthful of Love

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Album Review

It's appropriate that Young Heart Attack hail from Austin, as their XL debut feels like a love letter to the kids in Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater's meditation on teenage kicks in 1970s Texas. Mouthful of Love is a mulletheaded rush of the Who, Led Zeppelin, and the Sweet's "Fox on the Run" — it's nappy, not slow, and likely narcotics-fueled. Daltrey-do'd vocalist/guitarist Chris Hodge shares the mike with slender Jennifer Stephens. It's a weird mix, because Hodge is one of those guys who doesn't so much sing as scream (see Brian Johnson), and Stephens wails with the high-pitched glee of a singer who can sing and who knows it. But the two make it work, painfully so — they demand Mouthful of Love be played through cabinet speakers, because that's the only way their collective yowling and the din of two guitars won't destroy the ears. In typical '70s revivalist fashion, the introductory title track spends nearly a minute rocking before the vocalists come in, making their mark on the line "Boots are gonna knock now." "Starlite" is a completely un-ironic love anthem ("Because you wear my jacket girl!"), a triumphant big block stomp decorated with a gorgeous chorus break from Stephens, and "Tommy Shots"' ridiculous thrill of crackling riff and flying spit foreshadows "Over and Over," Young Heart Attack's MC5 cover that builds an addition onto the phrase "over the top." It's all ascending "Do do do do do do do doo!" vocal squeals, Hodge's clenched-eyelids lead, and caterwauling electric guitar baited by pounding snare. But as giddy as all of this is, YHA's enthusiasm can work against them. Their songs contain so many relentlessly exciting chunks, it can be difficult for the band to build a dynamic beyond Rock! You! Right! Now! Ahhrrggh! Still, the loopy intro and subsequent Stones vibe of "(Take Me Back) Mary Jane" offer some levity, and make the double-time stumble of "Sick of Doing Time" even more satisfying. By the time closer "Misty Rowe" rolls around, you're back to reveling in throbbing summer-night nostalgia. Whose summer nights? Who cares? A case of Shiner, loud guitars, and hot American metal through the ass of your jeans — that's a Mouthful of Love, and it's about to eat you for dinner.


Formed: 2001 in Austin, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Young Heart Attack formed in 2001 around Austin, TX scene vets Chris Hodge (vocals/guitar), ex-Sixteen Deluxe'ers Chris Smith (guitar; heretofore known as Frenchie) and Steven Hall (bass), and former Fastball drummer Joey Shuffield. Vocalist Jennifer Stephens was also tapped, as a foil to Hodge's barely-contained yell. A round of 7"'s and frequent gigging (including exposure at South by Southwest) hooked the Heart Attack up with a deal on XL, and soon the Texans were rocking European crowds alongside...
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Mouthful of Love, Young Heart Attack
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