It’s an odd thing to say, but my affection for a particular album can result in a review or post dedicated to said album going up much, much later than it should. Seems odd to essentially punish a record I like, but this happens because I want to find the time to write something half-coherent about it, and of course that time never comes.
The latest record to retrieve such treatment is Teenage Kicks latest EP/Album Be On My Side. I’ve already posted about the band’s Singles Club and my fondness for the first single from the album, Middle of the Night, but I’d intended to have a full review up before they played here in Halifax at the end of last month. Ooops, and also ugh. But here’s what you need to know: Be On My Side is simply a great rock & roll record, I have played the bejesus out of it for the last couple months, and you should hear it.
One of the main points that I was originally trying to formulate this post/review around, was the notion that albums that are overtly catchy or too “radio-friendly” (to use a term that will make us all cringe), are often given short shrift by music enthusiasts on the ol’ Internet. This is certainly over-simplifying things, but it’s hard to deny that claiming to enjoy the latest challenging, bizarre or just flat out “different” record getting love from the Polaris cool kids allows you to claim musical superiority over the “who the fuck is Bon Eye-ver?!?!?!” masses.
Luckily for me, the Ack tackled some of these themes in a much more concise manner than I could with his Joel Plaskett/Scrappy Happiness post earlier today, singing the virtues of embracing your influences and making sing-along rock record that’s full of heart and enthusiasm.
Heart and enthusiasm, yes. Cockrock-style caterwauling, no. Peter Van Helvoort happens to have a great voice, powerful & soulful, but he uses it to pump out snarling, soulful hooks that bring to mind not a preening front man on an arena stage, but a dude belting out sweaty tunes in a garage with his friends. The six songs on this album all have the echo-y guitars unabashedly cranked up past ten and a fantastic rhythm section jet-propelling them along. “Setting Son”, “I Get What You Give”, “Middle of the Night” and “Setting Son” will all shake your fillings loose with tales of unrequited love, childhood memories, and even the fellowship amongst musicians.
So to recap, Teenage Kicks = guitars, hooks & heart - who couldn’t use a healthy dose of that from time to time? Go ahead, give Teenage Kicks a chance to win you over to their side.