If your looking for an album jam-packed with tunes and melodies then psst come closer.  young Guv ‘I & II’ is your squeeze.  It’s packed to fuck with melodies that Teenage Fanclub and Evan Dando have been searching for since the ’80s.

Young Guv wraps beautiful pop tunes in some groovy shit baby he also throws in the odd bit of fuzz guitar for good measure but, generally its all about the beautiful melody baby. It’s what he does. this could be an album (sorry albums) full of smash hits if we lived in a just world where songwriters got success on merit) , in fact – since last summer, Guv (a.k.a. Ben Cook) moved to Brooklyn from his Toronto and just wrote,  it must have been the right decision because he just couldn’t stop writing and pulling power-pop beauties out of the ether and recording them one after the other.

It’s like he channelled the Beach Boys and The Beatles and every single drop of Big Star and Kinks melodies ever dusted them with a dash of Psychedelic goodness and a little bit of grit and hey presto you have this near-perfect pop album.  GUV I and GUV II, two full-length albums available only from Run For Cover Records or from GUV himself should come with a melody health warning and I hope I’m doing it justice?


It’s nineteen songs (including two demos) and a little flavour of what’s on offer is ‘Didn’t Even Cry’ and had Noel and Liam heard this back in the day they’d be doing I’m a celebrity rather than carry on with careers. Then to follow it with the twelve-string strum of ‘High On My Mind’ is a stroke of genius. Big chords and a delightful guitar break (it’s not a solo).  ‘Exceptionally Ordinary’ is like early Stone Roses mixed with some 80s indie such as the Icicle Works or Teardrop Explodes but sweeter.


If there is a downside its there is a lot of songs to get through and with every one, a potential summer hit its a lot to take and the fear is you’ll miss one or more.  There is a floor here as I’m not into the post-disco of ‘Caught Looking’ that might be a step too far for me with the soft drum pads and synth stabs that tingle like icicles and the distant dripping with reverb vocals.  In fact, the second half of this experience does go off the boil somewhat with a emo feel to proceedings like the sound and production of ‘Songs about Feeling Insane’ but it’s momentary as we’re back on track for ‘Can I Just Call You’.

In summary if you’re familiar with ‘Ripe 4 Love’ then you’ll be ahead of the loop because this is more of the same just dialled up the quality a shade.  Man, that fella can write a melody. He’s been perfecting this side of his work for almost five years now. If your looking for something different from your punk or rock then this is perfect.  Live a little and check this out – you might just find whatever it is you’re looking for. Innit Guv?


Buy ‘I & II’ Here

Author: Dom Daley

Young Guv is dedicated and prolific songwriter Ben Cook. Today he’s announced the second part of his double LP series, GUV II, coming via Run For Cover on October 25. Just off the heels of GUV I, released earlier in the summer, GUV II serves as a sequel collection of profoundly poignant and infectious pop tunes with choruses you’ll never forget and lyrics whose dry wit and understated acuity will knock you flat.

He’s revealed the album’s lead single “Try Not To Hang On So Hard” which Cook notes was written “on a bit of acid. I was house-sitting for my mom and looking at all the photos and all the very British trinkets she keeps around and on her walls that make her happy. It had a pretty profound emotional effect on me, probably due to the LSD, so I wrote a song about how it’s ok to feel a little lost or lonely and to keep things around you that make you feel comforted.”

Think of the contemporary guitar music that’s meant something to you in the last 18-odd years. Ben Cook has probably had something to do with making it or influencing it. Think of No Warning, which he’s fronted since he was in high school in the ’90s, who pioneered a self-aware, intertextual, and technically adept style of New York hardcore that has became a subgenre unto itself, dominating scenes all over the world for close two decades and counting. Think of Fucked Up, for which he’s played guitar since 2006, the aesthetically omnivorous, thematically ambitious punk-rock-deconstructing band-like entity that, unlike the bulk of their contemporaries in the late-2000s festival-circuit indie-rock boom, no one is ashamed of having associated themselves with. Think also of his behind-the-scenes presence, the co-writing and production work he’s done for a host of artists at all levels of renown.

Ben Cook doesn’t like talking about his music but he understands it. “To me Young Guv songs are like people-watching in a foreign country in the morning,” he says, ever the master of the vivid metaphor. “I’m there and I’m trying not to cry from the overwhelming feeling of sadness and happiness.”

As it happened, when the new songs started coming in May 2018, Ben was in a foreign country, albeit one – the U.S.A. – where he knew his way around, and could speak the language, observe local custom, and blend in, effectively disappearing, into the streetscape, into thoughts and longings, and, inevitably, back into his Brooklyn apartment, in the confines of which he wrote a song every single day.

People-watching in a foreign country. Another way of putting that would be to say that Young Guv songs are about being alone. As the years have passed, as material and social conditions have conspired to make everyone feel increasingly alone, Ben has built a Guv discography out of invoking the desolation that arises when you’re isolated in physical and mental space but surrounded nonetheless by millions of other isolated, solitary people, literally any one of whom you could, for all you know, love with all your heart for the rest of your life, but almost none of whom, you’re forced to admit, will become anything more than a briefly transfixing stranger, at best a wraith that recurrently haunts your dreams.

The city told him, in its aloof way, that a great record was waiting to be written and, most important, to be offered like a bouquet of flowers to the people of the world, in a humble act of love and communion. Ben‘s been a true songwriter long enough to have recognized, and heeded, the coded command when it came. He’s since moved back to NYC and plans to stay awhile.

Young Guv has confirmed September dates with label-mates Turnover this month and will confirm more North American dates soon. See below for a full list and go here to pre-order GUV II, and listen to GUV I here.

Young Guv Live Dates:

09/07: Toronto, ON – MattyFest
09/08: Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall #
09/10: Cleveland, OH – Phantasy #
09/11: Indianapolis, IN – Citadel Music Hall #
09/12: Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme #

# w/ Turnover

Young Guv: InstagramTwitterRun For Cover.