Everyone had that mischievous kid on their street growing up. Some are more mysterious than others, some are more rebellious, some dabble in badass femme fatale goth-punk. Eventually though, every Peter Pan and Maeve Munro has to grow up, and the latter’s aptly named solo project Young Hellions marks that moment in a very promising career.
Auckland native and MUZAI Records favourite Munro ran amuck with earlier musical partnerships The Bengal Lights and Cat Power, shredding guitars and hearts on the local scene, both bringing the recklessness of Siouxsie Sioux and pop hooks of Karen O rolled into one, multiplied by two. However, 2012 saw her step back inside for 6 months and explore a bigger, more complex and mature alternative sound.
Self-described as “neurosis in pop form”, the self-titled Young Hellions is a dark mix of influences like The Cure, Manic Street Preachers and Hole, generating a dense approach to synth-pop shoegaze. The entire EP is drenched in the isolation and raw charisma that comes with writing, recording and mixing alone in your house. The first taste came mid-November last year, Best Witchcraft is Geometry, before delivering the rest of the hazy gift on Valentine’s Day. A blurry layering of guitar, low-fi vocals and plenty of reverb, the further 3 tracks continue in the same vein.
With fuzzy, twangy guitars and a washed-out voice you can’t help but notice more contemporary similarities to compatriot Ladyhawke on opening number Sympathetic Magic. In contrast to Munro’s earlier work, the album sheds the minimalist tag whilst maintaining the catchy hooks, pop melodies and captivating-when-discernible lyrics. She lathers on the synth and reverb throughout Page Seventeen and Tropes and Idioms (Wallflower), before bringing the dark ensemble to a close with the first release.
A raucous exhibit of alt-pop, the EP is an astounding first solo effort from a skilful and experienced kid. You can only be intrigued by what Young Hellions might produce when she expands further beyond the comfort of synth-gaze, and her bedroom.
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