Chumped - Teenage Retirement - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Chumped - Teenage Retirement

by paul_guyet Rating:8 Release Date:2014-11-17

One thought kept banging around inside my head while listening to this album: Chumped could have scored both Daria and Scott Pilgrim Vs the World.*

It's uncanny how these four friends from Brooklyn (Anika Pyle on lead vocals and guitar, Dan on drums, Doug on bass, and Drew on guitar**) manage to sound like everything good about female-fronted bands from the 90s, while, at the same moment, fresh and pertinent in today's toilety music scene. Pyle's vocals feel clear and declarative without being shrill or whiny - a thin line with female vocals in punk and an achievement worth noting when it's pulled off.

Teenage Retirement, the band's first LP, is tight and bright - 12 tracks, 35 minutes. I like that math. 'Hot 97 Summer Jam' is almost too 90s to believe it's not some forgotten b-side that just slipped past everyone's regard until just now. "Songs About Boats" is the one on which Bryan Lee O'Malley should base the next volume of Scott Pilgrim, and 'Anywhere But Here', but for the vocals, sounds so much like Weezer that I could see YouTube's shitty anti-infringement software blocking it based on copyright grounds.

I'm not really saying anything overly specific about these songs because they're all excellent bricks in an incredibly well-crafted wall of warm, nostalgic yet relevant pop-punk. Except one. While everything else sounds like the best aspects of the 90s, 'Coffee' sounds like a Blink-182 pastiche.

It's short and quickly blotted from the listener's memory by the following song, but it's still there. Honestly, if it weren't for the guy's vocals, it would be great. The reason I'm focusing on this so much is that it's the only problem I really had with the album.

After a 25-minute assault of BPMs, things wrap up with 'The Pains of Being...' and 'Old and Tired'. The former feels like pushing your way off a crowded subway; as the crowd disperses onto the platform, you get a chance to actually fill your lungs with air, get lost in your thoughts, get away from the other assholes penning you in. The latter feels like emerging from the dark and dingy underground into hard city sunlight.

There are a few songs here featuring lyrics about trains: missing them, waiting for them, etc. It all feels appropriate. Not only would I say this is music to be listened to on a subway, but, the album itself is a subway. 

There's a bright, silvery note that appears about 13 seconds into the album which shines throughout. Bright and silvery like the outside of a subway car, which makes perfect sense, because, like a subway, the album is driving, a bit repetitive and always moving... Plus, it's about 35 minutes, which is the exact length of time you'll have to wait for a fucking G-train on the weekend if you've just missed one.*** 

If you miss the 90s and a sense of sincerity in music, you should probably listen to Teenage Retirement... While riding the subway.

* Behold! My will is manifest as 


** Fuck Drew, though.

*** Apologies to anyone reading this who is not from Brooklyn.

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