Before he began devoting his energies to the Hare Krishna parade, singer/lyricist Ray Cappo (aka Ray 2 Day) was a cult hero in New York’s positive core and straight- edge punk communities. Playing with aggression and conviction, Youth of Today preached self-discipline, scene unity and standing up for one’s beliefs, taking a hardline stance against the consumption of drugs, alcohol and meat.
The Youth crew’s first release, Can’t Close My Eyes, was a locally distributed 7-inch of rousing energy if little ingenuity. Each song consists of hyper- speed assaults broken by slow and heavy mosh sections that kick back into another bout of rage. Despite the monotonous ebb and flow, there’s a certain inspirational value to lyrics like “Voice your opinion/Just don’t sit still/Speak your mind/At your free will.” The Caroline edition is a remixed 12-inch.
Break Down the Walls typifies New York straight- edge style, with chants, jetting momentum and self- awareness messages. But Cappo’s indecipherable closed- throat rasp makes the LP hard to endure and its intentions hard to understand. The remixed 1988 reissue contains one added track.
Without sacrificing intensity, Cappo’s voice is tame enough on We’re Not in This Alone to blend with the music and have the lyrics come through loud and clear. The band’s improved playing introduces dynamic realms that were unknown on previous efforts. Songs address animal rights, friendship and social justice.
Youth of Today splintered after that second album. Cappo joined the Krishnas (not exactly a band) and later fronted Shelter, a Krishna hardcore group; guitarist John Porcell formed Judge. The 1990 release is a posthumous three-song single of their last recordings, ironically some of their best material.