Teenage Moods: Grow
Teenage Moods have always walked a fine line between a haphazard lo-fi group and a merry band of 90’s revivalists. Their sound is part garage pop, part grunge, part lo-fi scuzz, althoughtheir latest release Grow their sound has become increasingly refined. For fans of groups like Cymbals Eat Guitars, The Thermals or Cloud Nothings, bands that wear their love of 90’s alt rock on their sleeves, Teenage Moods may be up your alley. The band, who first appealed to me with their devil-may-care attitude live show where they sprawl out riffs and melodies (buried under the fuzz) in a fashion that can only be described as controlled chaos. Their last two releases (the underrated Mood Ring and the less consistent but still great RPG Picnic Time) worked to capture the zeitgeist the band extol in the live setting, which finds them balancing the refined with the ragged. Grow takes this process the furthest yet, with a few songs (the sprite “Bright Looms,” the catchy, polished riffs of “Electric Aloha,” the earnest “Young Wish”) actually sounding like they could *gasp* be played on the radio.
The tweaks in the sound are most certainly related to the group adding two members to their crew (Kyle and Elliot from Sleeping in the Aviary), which naturally will change the dynamic of the band. While there are some changes, the bulk of the effort still finds the group stretching out the sound they have developed on their last two releases. The highlights of the record include the garage angst of “You,” and the slinky fury of “Black Noon,” which seems to best encompass the blend the bands past and (presumably) future sound.
Songs like the title track, with its coo-ing background vocals and warm melodies, seem to indicate a new direction for the band. While I am pretty adamant in preference of lo-fi/hazy over slick/richly produced, Grow hasn’t changed the band to the point where this distinction has become an issue. Luckily for the band, usually when this issues arises and I begin to fret about a groups sound, it generally means that a larger audience will be more inclined to connect with the group. I think Grow could be the record that brings this band, who previously have been more DIY/house show focused, more attention from the 89.3 The Current’s of the world. Like Nirvana, a band the group clearly knows a little about, Teenage Moods write music that, intentionally or not, walks a line between arty and accessible. Grow, a clear eyed illustration of the band at their most focused, seems like it might be a tipping point for the band and could be an indicator of the next phase in the evolving life of The Teenage Moods.
Buy the record from the Teenage Moods Bandcamp page and catch them live tonight at their LP release show at the Hexagon