This is what a lot of passion and not a lot of concern sounds like. Short, sharp songs that have been criminally under-produced (on purpose), potent and catchy. No make that ridiculously potent and incredibly catchy. I am completely enamoured with this album right now.
It’s fair to say ‘Late Teens’ would be a different type of beast if the band had polished, mixed and tweaked it to studio perfection. Different is not always better. The rawness is key here. The unreserved energy and vulnerability all take centre stage and the band keep form right from the start all the way to its brilliant end. Guitars are right up on top and it’s just great, nice melodic parts and plenty of big power-chord driven moments. The drums are feverish and fast, the pace rarely drops below a panic-state and at times feel like the mics were crapping out. The bass never really deviates from the path and while normally I’d be super disappointed about that, for this band..you need solid. And it is very solid. Natalie though…she’s a star. Yeh the band is kick ass and the group deserve a well earned pat on the back for their no-nonsense delivery but the fact, simply put, is that she fucking owns this. She crushes every performance and shows a great range and disregard for her own vocal chords to massive effect.
‘Crash’ opens the album with a slow burner that really grows. The build up teases and leads into a fantastic anthem that honestly surprised me. Previous tastes of this album like the tracks ‘Headwreck’ & ‘My Bodys Changing’ call to mind punk rock urgency (without actually being a punk band) and naturally that’s what I was expecting. I am glad to report that Press Club have way more tricks up their sleeve than what we’ve been led to believe and it’s exactly this kind of surprise up front that’s going to give ‘Late Teens’ some serious longevity.
‘Suburbia’ is another song that follows suit but trades out the frenetic energy for a rare vulnerability and sense of sadness about leaving heart break behind. That’s not to say there’s any less guitars and drums going hard at it. Just a different kind of attack. ‘Baby it hurts when you’re left in the lurch but I keep running back to you / I left my heart in the suburbs’. Killer line. Will get stuck in your head.
‘Side B’ is the first song that doesn’t outright blast it’s way out of the speakers. Opting for a nice bit of chorus and clean guitar, some reserved drumming building up an instrumental/interlude of sorts. It’s nice for a break from an otherwise assaulting album and sets up the killer track ‘Ignorance’. I have to admit that I love the way Natalies voice breaks up just a little bit as she sings ‘theres nothing to say but im gonna start’ right before the band boom back in. They are the little things that sell me on this band.
The title track ‘Late Teens’ is another knockout blow. The vocal intro is a brilliant start but the melodies that follow, the different guitar sounds, the way the bass and drums carry the verses and the feedback that drones in the background…the liveliness and everything have this pegged as an instant album favourite.
Press Club have such a good debut on their hands here it almost feels unfair. This is rock music for right now and it’s outstanding. Go get it.
*feature image / photo cred > Chris Cohen Photography