Young Fox first put themselves on the map a few summers back with the release of their debut EP Predecessors, and it’s been a long time coming, but the Pittsburgh quartet has finally returned with a proper full-length. Nearly three years in the making, Sky Beats Gold is ten tracks’ worth of well-written indie rock that can be both edgy and subdued.
The false ending on “Sometimes the Monsters Win” gives an otherwise-solid tune a little extra oomph to start the record off strong, before the slow drum stomp and ethereal guitar of “We Move as Waves” makes it one of the album highlights just two cuts in. Stephen Christian makes a brief guest appearance near the end of “Slow Burn,” a great song with a strangely eerie backing guitar line. An abundance of quality riffing is evident already, only three tracks in, and this simply continues throughout the rest of Sky Beats Gold.
There are also moments on the album with a fast ¾ feel, such as on “Atom Smasher” or “The Desert,” the latter of which boasts a phenomenal key change in the song’s bridge. Guitarist Marty Lunn’s riffing reaches its highest level of nastiness on “Hearts of Men, Pt. 1,” another highlight from Sky Beats Gold. The bridge sections of both “Wine of Violence” and “To Be Moving” are worth mentioning, with the former’s full instrumental part and the latter’s bassline before a killer drum pattern ends things. “We Are Not the Wolves” is a brief (and honestly feels too brief) tune which builds to the end and leads into “Hearts of Men, Pt. 2.” Part two isn’t nearly as nasty as its earlier counterpart, but it’s still subtly heavy and features a powerful sung chorus to end things on a high note – quite literally.
Sky Beats Gold sees Young Fox continuing to do what they do best: crafting edgy indie rock with soaring melodies. Predecessors introduced their music to the world, and this full-length debut does a nice job of keeping them relevant some three years after that initial introduction.