Who else was on the emotional and confusing roller-coaster of the Teenage Kicks chronicles of 2011-2014? Jeff left, Pete was hurt, Pete decided to go on without him, yet we all remember that heartbreaking seemingly breakup-ish feeling show they rocked at The Horseshoe in 2012. Now, Jeff’s back, and they’re going strong. Yes folks, it’s been a topsy-turvey road for this home-grown band, but let’s leave all that behind and marvel at their powerful new album Spoils of Youth.
First track, ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ – seem familiar? Well it should. ‘Brooklyn Bridge’ was the opening track of Rational Anthems, the EP released by TK in April 2011 that was the soundtrack to their initial rocky patch displayed right in the public eye. I feel like choosing this song was an intentional statement; maybe a way of saying, ‘we’re aware of our past presence in the scene, and we’re not ashamed of it.’
Other pre-released tracks include: ‘Digging Up Old Bones’ and ‘Lose Your Head’ (No Reason To LIVE *Singles Club Vol. 5*) ‘Houdini’ (Singles Club Vol. 8): all have some notable and obvious differences (live versus studio) in versions; and are worth a comparative listen.
Second track, ‘Curse Words’ is carried along by a dominating lead guitar, and showcases those rock fundamentals that these guys just manipulate so easily. This feeds nicely into the third track ‘Life Death & A Little Bit Of Self Respect’ which has more of a distinguishable pairing of lead guitar and bass and anthem style backing vocals.
Fourth track ‘Shit-Eater’; not the classiest title but man, this track is catchy as all hell. The main melody of the verses with the call and response style of lead and backing vocals just makes me wanna throw my arms around some strangers front row at a rock show.
Midway through the album we’re greeted by the previously released tracks, interrupted momentarily by ‘Time is Not a River’ – whose opening riff and entire bass line reminds me of the rock bands of the 90′s that molded my musical upbringing; think The Gin Blossoms or Better Than Ezra. Last two tracks; ‘Time Is Not A River’ and ‘Your Shadow’ wrap up the album nicely bringing it to a defiantly calm and mature ending.
If you’re TL;DR-ing my review: Pete’s emotion resonates in every track (as always). It was intricately arranged and honestly produced. Proud Canadian rock infused with coming of age lyrics.
Album available April 29, 2014.