Teen Vice - Saddest Summer

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2017-07-14

The fascination with the nineties continues with Teen Vice, several members of which clearly grew up with the alternative, grunge and shoegaze bands of that era. Their debut album, Saddest Summer, is the eclectic mix of their separate musical journeys, having all played in different bands before.

The band is at it’s best when Tammy Hart is on vocals. They mix it up across the album, with Joshua Ackley taking roughly half the load, but ‘Kiss It Goodbye’ and ‘Y U WNT 2?’ are two of the stand out tracks, mixing the simple alt-rock of Hole with a twinge of 70s melody.

The switching between the vocalist should offer a variety of textures, but instead it only goes towards making the album seem confused. Is the punkish attitude of ‘Think Tank’ a good companion for tracks like ‘How Does It Feel?’ confidently rubbing the nose of a former lover in it, asking “How does it feel that you are not mine?”. ‘Out Of Excuses’ shows off more of those Fleetwood Mac-esque hooks, with it’s harmonies and hoo-hooing.

There is plenty of vim and vigour to be found across the album, ‘Hipster’ playing on the band’s NYC roots, but plenty of the songs don’t go far enough one way or another to make you invest. These feel like songs rushed or left unfinished, lacking the cutting edge in guitar riffs and bass lines - minor exceptions aside.

‘Cochon Deluxe’ is a strange track, attempting to snarl, but coming off creepy. It’s not clear whether this track’s statement of “Me and my boys never have to ask” is a parody of how obnoxious and dangerous some men (referred to as little boys and pigs in the song) can be, or whether it’s meant to be deemed cool - hard to imagine it’s the latter with female bandmates.

It’s that puzzling element to some of the tracks on the album which lingers with you as opposed to wanting to dive right in over and over again. A lack of bite, from the guitars to the snare drum, means the band have no edge, but they don’t deploy their melodic parachutes often enough to save the album either.

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