Teenage Bottlerocket

Sick Sesh!

Written by: PP on 13/10/2021 23:24:00

Twelve years separated from their last great album "They Came From The Shadows", Teenage Bottlerocket are still stubbornly shredding their lives away playing no-frills pop punk on their eighth album "Sick Sesh!" (discounting "Stealing The Covers"). The artwork remains unchanged save for a new colour from the palette (orange this time around), which also applies to their expression. Simplistic, fast-paced pop punk with tight guitars and catchy choruses ideal for a skating session is what they've made a career of, so why change now?

Fortunately, "Sick Sesh!" feels fresher than any of their other albums since their breakthrough record. Not only is "Ghost Story" arguably their finest song since then with its infectiously catchy, Alkaline-Trio referencing melody, but "Semi Truck" delivers signature style shredding, and "Strung Out On Stress" brings back the metallic edge we saw on songs like "Bigger Than KISS" back then.

In fact, the opening half to "Sick Sesh!" is the strongest they've presented in a while. It's hard to describe why: it's not that the band has changed in the slightest, which has been problematic on the last three albums, to say the least. They've always been decent, occasionally solid, but in a style as simplistic as Teenage Bottlerocket's, the difference between great and meh is rather delicate.

On "Sick Sesh!", the band is on the correct side of the fence for the most part, with catchy sing-alongs like "Spend The Night" and truer-than-true Teenage Bottlerocket-sounding "You're Never Going Out Of Style" leading the way. But with songs like "Statistic", "Hello Dana", "Theoretical Reality", they are not. These are all examples where their approach to no-frills pop punk feels uninspirational at best, cliché, and tired at worst.

When put together, the record essentially feels like the band has come to a common understanding: they've peaked, they're happy to play their straight-up pop punk with no bullshit attached, with a few great songs scattered amongst decent-enough filler that leaves behind records that are difficult to criticize but equally difficult to love. Much like "Tales From Wyoming", it's a good album, but despite its strong opening, just doesn't have the desire to be any more than that.


Download: Ghost Story, Semi Truck, Strung Out On Stress
For the fans of: Masked Intruder, The Copyrights, Frenzal Rhomb, The Murderburgers, The Dopamines
Listen: Facebook

Release date 27.08.2021
Fat Wreck Chords

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