Barely a year and a half after we first sat down with their breakout EP Afterglow, Sydney’s own Yours Truly are on the cusp of releasing their debut album Self Care for the whole world to see. Releasing September 18 through UNFD, Self Care is a fearless charge into stardom for one of Australia’s most promising talents, once again showcasing why the four-piece have been held in incredibly high regard since their earliest days.
Bold and bursting with life, Self Care is a declaration of the band’s credentials on the global stage as it works to combine the bubbly sounds of modern pop-punk with the grit and tenacity of the 2000’s radio rock era that blessed us with Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson.
Opening with the explosive “Siamese Souls”, the four-piece set an exciting precedent from the album’s outset as searing guitar riffs and roaring drums mould under the resolute vocals of vocalist Mikaila Delgado. Yet as monumental as the album’s opener is, there is so much more in store for listeners as the band burst through hit after hit.
As Self Care progresses, it’s evident just how far Yours Truly have come in such a short time. The percussive performance of drummer Bradley Cronan is impressive in his first release with the band since joining in late 2018. Robust and full-bodied, his performance is unyielding as it builds a brilliant platform for the rest of the band to project from, with his drumming on the shimmering “Composure” in particular a personal highlight.
Similarly, the interplay between guitarists Teddie Winder-Haron and Lachlan Cronin is unfaltering; transitioning expertly between glittering guitar lines and relentless riffage the two weave an incredibly intricate and infectious web – and your eardrums are the helpless insect stuck inside it, so why even try to resist? Whether it’s the scintillating “Glass Houses”, the melancholic “Funeral Home”, or everything in between, the mood-building from the pair is invaluable throughout the entirety of Self Care.
And though it is hard to try and find any words to aptly describe her performance on the album, the work of vocalist Mikaila Delgado is, in every definition of the word, unbelievable. While Afterglow was never anything to laugh at, Self Care sees Delgado poised as arguably the greatest vocalist in the alternative scene. It’s not just the consistency of her execution that has my vote, but the way she seamlessly glides between the extremities of her vocal range never fails to impress. From the determined and tenacious “Ghost” to the vulnerable and raw “Half Of Me” it’s impossible to overstate just how outstanding Delgado’s effort on Self Care truly is.
While the majority of Self Care is dominated by jaunty and hearty songs, the brief moments that see the band take a step back and slow their pace are equally charming. The bubbly heights of the high-spirited “Undersize” will have you feeling like you’re floating on a cloud as it drifts between fizzy acoustic guitar and gentle drumming, while the unplugged “Half Of Me” tugs at the heartstrings as Delgado takes centre stage in the powerful piece.
As Self Care plays through, there’s a persevering feeling that it’s building to something truly special. Passing incredibly, the album’s first nine tracks finally culminate into Self Care’s tenth and final song; “Heart Sleeve”, a breathtaking and bittersweet anthem for moving on and letting go. With resilient guitars and weighty drums, the instrumental section builds a soaring atmosphere, while Delgado gives a career-best performance that is both awe-inspiring and spine-chilling in what is undeniably the greatest song that the band has ever written. I’m a firm believer that any album is only ever as good as its closing track, and if that’s the case then Self Care may just be one of the greatest albums of all time.
At its core, the sound of Self Care is incredibly vibrant and youthful despite diving into some of the deepest and most challenging subjects that Delgado has seen herself write about. Yet more than ever before, there’s such a strong sense of empowerment channelled through Delgado’s lyrics. Tracks like “Composure” and “Half Of Me” delve into the depths of relationships – with the former a cathartic take on heartbreak while the latter is a heartfelt and doe-eyed ode to the challenges of long-distance.
Other times, we see Delgado expand her lyrical range more than ever before, expressing a desire to discuss more than just herself and other people. “Funeral Home” in particular discusses the uncomfortable feelings of unity amidst the overwhelming sense of grief when losing a loved one, while “Ghost” is Delgado’s own confrontations with the anxieties and flaws that had her feeling like she was dead. It’s a stark contrast from the spirituous instrumental work, yet together they form an intoxicating combination.
For a group that has shown enormous promise since their formation, Self Care is a declaration that just being promising isn’t enough for Yours Truly. The album is explosive and infectious as it dives into a journey of self discovery for vocalist Mikaila Delgado. It’s honest and authentic in its expression, exceptional in its execution and an incredible expansion on the sound that the band built their foundation on.
In a genre that has seen most of its veterans redefine their sound, Yours Truly have stuck to their guns and doubled down on their prodigious brand of pop punk on Self Care, and proven just why music fans across the world have rallied behind them. A breath of fresh air into their genre, Self Care is set to be the wind under the wings of the band as they soar into contention as one of the best in the alternative music scene. Melancholic yet energetic, anthemic but cathartic; as far as debut albums go, you can’t get much better than this.
Self Care is simply a perfect debut from the Yours Truly. The band have boldly shot for the stars and nailed the execution - now they launch into stardom.