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Teenanger – Frights

on March 22, 2012, 7:57am

Teenanger’s Frights is an old-school kick of an album, swift and hard-hitting. It’s frequently difficult to understand the words coming out of lead singer Nick Littlemore’s mouth, and most of the songs hover below the two-minute range. Let’s just say that Teenanger is an acquired taste, and that you might be more open to the loud and raucous offerings on Frights if you’re in the mood to punch someone—or remember what punk sounded like before the likes of Blink-182 made it slick and commercial.

Tracks like “SLW” and “Cops But Not” sound most like a mishmash of lost 1970s Sex Pistols tracks that were just rediscovered in a basement somewhere and dusted off for a new generation, one not quite old enough to be familiar with the original material. Littlemore and his bandmate, Phillipa Brown, have an admirable amount of energy, but the pace of the album rarely varies, giving listeners’ ears little respite from the barrage of drums and simple chord patterns. Littlemore’s lyrics remain unintelligible and opaque, and it becomes hard to distinguish one song from the next as the album progresses.

While Littlemore and Brown follow the conventions of the genre to a T, their strict loyalty to the gods of fast strumming doesn’t allow much room for innovation. In a rare moment of novelty in “Funeral March”, Teenanger invokes the likes of Chuck Berry and other early purveyors of rock and roll. It’s a fun romp, but it’s over very quickly.

Ultimately, Frights is a solid effort by competent musicians, but Littlemore and Brown make it too easy for the uninitiated—those who don’t hold the original brattiness of punk near and dear to their hearts—to pass right on by, hearing little that they can connect with and cherish. There’s a reason the punk sound eventually evolved, exploring other feelings besides anger.

Essential Tracks: “SLW”, “Cops But Not”, and “Funeral March”

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