Review by: Mr. Substitute

Young Costello, so hot right now,” is what my first thought was when I had the privilege of listening to their latest EP entitled “Stories Told, Some New, Some Old” set to be released through Ska Punk International on August 30th. You know how a charcuterie board is supposed to be a “snack” but ends up being rather filling and ends up being a meal? Well this 4-track, 22-minute EP is exactly that: delicious, filling, satisfying.

Heat is the theme for this EP: whether you’re “hot under the collar,” “got the hots for someone” or just straight-up “en fuego,” this album touches it all. Yes, the tempo and sound go from smoldering to emblazoned and back again; yes, the bass line and rhythm guitar are masterfully walking on hot coals; and yes, the horns are bold and beautifully arranged. But, my God, for me it’s John Micheal Leija’s voice that adds this smokey char to every track that is intoxicating. Add on top of that lyrics that really heat things up in almost every way imaginable and, my good people, you have one HOT EP.

“Stories Told” begins with “Backseat Driver,” a rather harrowing song about, to me, a mental struggle that continues to be fueled by addiction. Starting off like a canon, this track–just like every track on this EP–doesn’t just tell a story, a tale, it tells a complete one: the changing tempo and sound signifies the song’s change in mood and temperament (yes, they are two different things). And this story-telling style of songwriting remains true for all of the tracks on this EP: sprinkling in elements of skacore, reggae, and in-your-face rock-n-roll throughout. Their latest single off the EP, “One Eye Open” even has some metal elements as Leija screams “Well all the king’s horse and all the king’s men/ Can deny human rights with the stroke of a pen!” Spine-chilling, poignant, thought-provoking–just my style. Another thing that absolutely should be noted is that this EP was mastered by Millington’s own Cody Okonski, giving it that marbled finish we’ve come to recognize.

Young Costello. Again, so hot right now. Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, Young Costello has been involved with the ska scene coming up on 12 years now, playing with some greats like Mustard Plug, Less Than Jake and the Slackers and have every right to have shared stages with these ska legends. They’re “ska to the core, and sometimes even skacore” and you never lose that hip-swinging, head-bobbing rhythm both live and in the studio. And as you can see from their latest video release of “One Eye Open,” released via brooklynvegan.com this is a group of some highly talented and equally passionate musicians. It’s la pasión, it’s powerful, it’s believable. You can presave “Stories Told, Some New, Some Old” on Bandcamp, there is a cassette available and a CD made available from Ska Punk International. Also go to Young Costello’s linktree to keep up with everything they’re up to, just make sure you’re wearing appropriate heat-resistant gear *wink*.

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