Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Album Review: Teenage Halloween - Teenage Halloween

Teenage Halloween
***and1/2 out of of *****

This self titled release on Don Giovanni Records from the Asbury Park, NJ based Teenage Halloween, is a poppy punk blast of angsty emotion as the group deal with mental health issues and queer struggles in the modern word. 

Luke Henderiks leads the charge on vocals and guitar with an expanded cast of characters helping out with Eli Frank - lead guitar / composition / production, Tricia Marshall- bass / vocals / keys, Brandon Hakim - saxophone, Peter Gargano- drums, Jane Lai - piano and Evan Bernard- tambourine / guitar. The group churns out tight propulsive numbers throughout that shine bright against the struggling though emotional hell lyrics. 

Lyrically quitting your job, growing up with horrible family members, struggling with gender issues, dealing with people full of shit and the whole world falling apart, all play a role as Hendericks struggles to match his emotional weight with sunshine pop punk sounds. When he screams the title refrain of "Clarity" there is an emo resonance as he truly is searching for it, with you are rooting for him to find some.    

The suburban angst of "Stationary" kicks things off before the straight ahead motoring "Holes" but both are dipped in pop punk shine as is the pounding "SMH City" which delivers the lyrical plea "Don't give up on us yet!". The heart of a self-destructive queer is on display for the closer "Turn Right, Goes Straight" which opens up the bands style more with bar room piano shuffles and a scorching guitar rave up to end.    

The best efforts are the slightly doo-wop hip swinging of "Drown", "Sweat" with it's gorgeous piano lines along dramatic swells and the slower paced "Racehorse" which proves the outfit can take a breath and still produce soaring sounds around weighty topics. 

A direct comparison would be a much less optimistic Beach Slang as James Alex seems to be trying to save the world with each song while Henderiks and crew are just trying to walk around safely, in a comfortable mind-frame, while making it to tomorrow. 

The track "Figwit" sums it up for Teenage Halloween on the excellently produced self titled full length as they take beautiful background vocals and a huge layer of supporting guitar lines, drum fills and piano runs around the phrase "Try hard, wake up, That's all you can do." 

Support the artists, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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