Punk and hardcore has always been a hard nut to crack. By it’s nature alone, it is genre that is populated by songs full of anger, angst and apathy. It is incredibly rare to find a band who manage, let alone seek to write music that contains positive messages of hope, love and the future. Coming across a band like Break Even, at first they may seem like your run of the mill hard rockin’ band, but peeling back the layers reveals a band who seek to shine a light on the darkness, who choose not to dwell on the bad shit that may have happened, but what can be done in the future to make things right. And this is none more clear than their latest release Young and Bright.
Perth’s Break Even have broken their silence to release the poignant Young and Bright. With sweeping melodies and cut to the bone lyrics, the band remain as focused and inspiring as ever.
If you’ve been following the band since their formation in 2005 you’ll know that the release of Young and Bright is a pretty big fucking deal. The band have certainly been through the wringer throughout their career, the tragic suicide of guitarist Rowan Willoughby standing out. Despite the sadness and grief that may have shocked them, Break Even have always managed to soldier on for the sake of the music and the message they wanted to spread. However, everything came to a screaming halt in 2012 as the band announced they were putting their guitars down. “Over time the commitments in our lives other than the band have become more important and despite our best efforts to persist with the band after all the writing and touring over the last few years we have to come to the end of the road” read their farewell message, and one couldn’t help but feel at this loss within the hardcore scene.
And so was the story of Break Even. Or so we thought. Over the last few months the band have been resurfacing announcing a fair few shows, and last Wednesday dropped their new track Young and Bright to the screaming joy of hardcore kids everywhere. Written as a thank you song for all the people who had supported them over the years, Young and Bright is the first taste of the album they never got to finish in 2012, which will finally see the light of day in the new year.
At first glance this may not seem very punk-rocky especially considering the light, surf rock-esque guitar tones. There are probably some hardcore snobs (yes, these kinds of people exist) who will scoff and say Break Even aren’t hard enough to be listed in the punk and hardcore genre. But quite frankly that kind of sentiment is rubbish. The genre isn’t about being tough, it’s about being honest and cutting through bullshit. The brighter guitar tones lend an appropriately peaceful, almost nostalgic quality to Young and Bright. “I’ve felt death before, and I know that if I never burn I’ll never learn and I will never grow” growls Mark Bawden. In true Break Even style, Young and Bright never shies away from the darkness within one’s heart. But instead of succumbing to it, they acknowledge it and try to learn from the fact to move on.
Sometimes things can get you down to some pretty low places. You can get to a place where you may feel there is no way out and there is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that surrounds your life. But always remember there is always a way to bounce back, be stronger and love life. In the words of Bawden, “Don’t ever forget the days when the sun shined bright on your young heart”.
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