They Came from the Shadows
Fat Wreck Chords
Ah, now this is pop punk. The real kind. It’s unfortunate that when describing a band as falling within that genre, the first thing people think of is Good Charlotte, Yellowcard or Fall Out Boy. Those bands actually have their share of catchy numbers and in the broadest sense, sure they qualify, but there is just something inherently not pop punk about them. It’s probably the complete abandonment of a DIY ethos that bothers me most. Punk in the name of commercial success is not punk. But this review is about Teenage Bottlerocket, who are the genuine article.
Pop punk check list:
1) No more than two songs over three minutes long – check
2) Amazing vocal harmonizing – check.
3) Song about not wanting to do something – check
4) Simple, but incredibly melodic guitar solos – check
5) Song/s about (a) girl/s – check
6) Everything in 4/4 – check
7) Album features approx. 15 songs but is only 30 minutes in length – check
While entirely listenable from beginning to end (and why wouldn’t you when it only takes a half hour?), there are stand out tracks. “Skate or Die” gives several nods to old school skate references like the Bones Brigade, while “Don’t Want to Go” and “Not OK” share the title for best sing-a-longs on the album. Only on a pop punk album can there be songs named both “Without You” and “Be with You” and both kick ass. “The Jerk” is another strong contender. Basically, Teenage Bottlerocket has done it again. Two minutes, 3 chords and a hook has been the basic formula for a great song since the fifties. Why do people keep straying from it when doing so often results in disaster?