The Pink Spiders - Teenage Graffiti
Record Label: Geffen
Release Date: August 1, 2006
The thing about finding those random albums that were released a few years ago, but that you somehow missed, is that you get a little thrill up and down your spine as you listen to it and realize that you like almost every single track. I had that experience a week ago with The Pink Spiders' sophomore album, Teenage Graffiti. I owned their first album, Hot Pink, a relatively boring and badly-produced album, and knew they had another one coming out soon. But somehow I missed out on the quirky, likeable pop/punk that is Teenage Graffiti.
First thing I noticed is how accurate the album title is. The lyrics don't discover new depths of poetry, but nor do they come across as simplistic and boring. They are personal, straightforward, emotive, and at times quite amusing. Being a writer myself, I particularly adore the wordplay involved. They actually remind me somewhat of the new The Academy Is... album, but less ashamed to be, well, Teenage Graffiti. My favorite genre is pop/punk, and these guys fulfill everything one would expect from a solid album in that category.
"Little Razorblade", the lead single, brings a 60's rock sound to the mix, almost like Fountains of Wayne, and ends the catchy-as-hell chorus with the line "don't call it a crush, baby...you know I love you too much to be crushed like that". More wordplay is featured in the ballad-like pop/rock "Hey Jane", with the line "Just don't let your life's income determine your life's outcome". "Still Three Shy" sounds like Cheap Trick updated for the 21st century, a party anthem to match any other, but the next song, "Adalae", changes it up to a Ben Folds-style bouncy piano tune, with Beatles-like harmonies and sarcastic yet funny not-so-love-song lyrics. The Pink Spiders change it up yet again on "Easy Way Out", with multi-tracked and filtered vocals, lyrics about how hard it is to break a drug addiction, and the power-chord urgency of a New Wave/punk band.
It isn't all good though - "Nobody Baby" falls short with a Rolling Stones-ish drinking song, and "Soft Smoke" sounds like it belongs in the "Bonus Songs" section of Guitar Hero with the rest of the mostly unsigned bands. Even those songs, however, are better than the majority of pop/punk released recently. Overall, the album is highly listenable all the way from track 1 to track 13. It does not bore you and does not use a formula. It is full of catchy, fun tracks with witty lyrics. And it is worth picking up.
I agree with most of this review, except the bit about Guitar Hero ... the "Bonus Songs" section includes some of the best songs in the game, for example songs by "Senses Fail", "Rise Against" and "The Fall of Troy".
Good review. Its better than most pop punk out there and appreciate the 60's/old school vibe on some of the songs, and I am not really into pre 2000's. They also put on a pretty good show, Matt Friction is a very good frontman.
Love this album and the one that came before and after ( Hot Pink & Sweat It Out ) Matt Friction is in the studio at the moment recording with his new band - Dozen Dimes, which should be out early march. :) I still listen to this album every week usually.