rating: 4In 2003, a collective group of young guns decided to band together and form a group called Young Guns. Why they opted against Young Bucks, Young Ones, Young Men, Young Upstarts or Young Dumb (and full of cum) is beyond me. Perhaps they originally had their hearts set on playing on Arsenals youth teams and got stuck playing rock n roll instead, perhaps they were inspired by The Guns, or Guns but not 'n' Roses but felt they werent old enough to steal that name, or perhaps they just really liked the Emilio Estevez starring film of the same name. Not that any of that matters, whats in a name after all? Around 2008 the band would settle on what is their current line-up, which would be soon followed up in 2009 by debut EP, which nestled in with an early Summer release, some heavy gigging on their part following it and a support slot playing with lostprophets started make waves for the band in the alternative music press, particularly striking a chord with a younger generation of alternative music fans who would also go on to embrace bands like Kids in Glass Houses, You Me At Six and Deaf Havana; each of whom are really starting to come into a fruition now, alongside Young Guns. Most notably You Me At Six. The post-emo generation if you will...ahem. 2010 saw the band release their debut album All Our Kings Are Dead to resounding positive reviews from the majority of your typical rock/alternative publications, and some more mainstream critics. For a first full length effort, thats not bad work, oh and they released it themselves through their own label, and Bon Jovi handpicked them as support for the first night of their residency at the O2 arena. So given the brazen haste of their first album after their debut EP, you might be surprised to note that its been two years for them to follow that up. Thats if you even noticed ,or have only just realised 2010 is now two years ago. To be fair they havent been sat around on their arses for that period of time, theyve been filming music videos, and touring and becoming more successful than you. Give them a break. Anyway, their first album displayed an already fully formed sound, and some cocksure bravado, so how does the sophomore effort match up then? I hear you cry from your bedroom windows to me as I write this review. Well in short it stands up very well, and is exactly what any Young Guns fan could hope for from the band, and is another stepping stone on their path to stadium sized stardom surely. Other words beginning with s. The album opens with an anthem in waiting (I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die); feedback and cymbals bleed into a riff and rhythm section that sound bigger than a band of this age have any right in sounding. The production on display here by Dan Weller (formerly guitarist of SikTh) is something to be admired, polished and crisp but without sounding clinical. You could only describe this song as huge. http://youtu.be/qk3vjIDuy9w And this is what you get with this album, a tightening and focussing of Young Guns sound and then it gets amplified (probably up to 11). The choruses have gotten bigger, the hooks catchier than something contagious/something really sharp and hook shaped. Occasionally this can be a little detrimental to the band, when it feels like everything has to be big and woah inducing, but then 30 Seconds to Mars have been doing that for some time now and are getting along just fine. Though the album does have its softer side to even out the arena anthems of songs like Bones, Towers (On My Way), You Are Not and Brothers In Arms. This lighter touch being displayed on tracks like Hymns For All Ive Lost and Everything Ends, which will be getting kids in tight jeans very emotional, very soon. The album comes to its climactic close with the one-two punch of Headlights and Broadfields, with both tracks really showing what the band is actually capable of; encapsulating the emotional weight their tunes can carry and their penchant for a mass crowd pleaser/destroyer. Not to everyones taste and perhaps needing a little more variety, this album in spite of that is a further cementing of the momentum (mixed metaphor I know, it sounded nice though) these young bucks are building. It will be lapped up by their fans and continue to nurture the growth of said fan base. Theyll be filling stadiums just big enough to hold their anthems in no time. Bones by Young Guns was released yesterday and is available from Amazon.