Hey friend. Are you looking for a record that recalls your love of early Placebo and Idlewild? You are? Well then TEEN CREEPS have the perfect album for you.
TEEN CREEPS are a three piece from Ghent who describe their sound as “post-everything”. In some ways this makes sense as every listener will bring their own culture capital when listening to the record. For me, I drowned myself in nineties alternative rock and that’s what spoke to me here on their debut album Birthmarks.
Kicking off with the wonderful Sidenote I was transported back to hearing Come Home by Placebo back in ’96. The whistling jangly lead over the rifftastic guitar opening while the strained and desperate vocal calls out: “I want to be the last thing on your mind”. The band themselves reference both Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth as influences but the guitar tones, splashy drums and honest, howling vocals bring back happy memories of so many alternative rock albums from the nineties.
Singer Bert explains that the album title Birthmarks “refers to events that you carry with you for the rest of your life, whether good or bad. Just as a birthmark is not necessarily beautiful or useful, it is forever.” The second song and latest single Hindsight encapsulates this while managing to straddle that delicate line between pop and punk rock, ensuring it stays radio friendly but never beige or annoying. The lyrics come across as personal and thoughtful and the downer grunge influence is never more prominent than when he sings “You’d expect by the time I turn twenty-four I’d realise there’s nothing more”.
It’s not all fast paced and loud though, Birthmarks surprises by being packed with both melody and feeling, especially on Hemisphere and Unravel. Importantly the lead guitar and vocal tones work harmoniously together which, along with the drums, bass and very well thought out arrangements, ensures each track stands strong.
TEEN CREEPS’ LP Birthmarks is out on 6th April via PIAS.