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Music Review:: Teenage Bottlerocket – They Came From The Shadows

It’s not every day that you hear about a Wyoming band cranking out amazing, fast-and-fun punk-rock tunes but that is what Teenage Bottlerocket does best. The foursome, hailing from The Cowboy State, ditched the clichéd Wyoming lifestyle, threw on black leather motorcycle jackets, grabbed their guitars, and created some of the catchiest punk tunes I myself have heard in years.The band recently released their fourth album, entitled They Came From The Shadows, which happens to also be the band’s first release with the independent punk rock label Fat Wreck Chords.

The band previously intrigued me with their prior release, Warning Device. With Ramones-like similarities, their pop-punk elegance proved attention-grabbing throughout the disc and I found myself won over by one of the more intelligent bands on the punk scene. How intelligent? Two members are engineers. Another fun little fact: two members are identical twins. 

“Skate Or Die” starts off the album with an ode to younger years of tearing it up complete with classic skate references to the Bones Brigade, street skater legend Rodney  Mullen, and even some '80’s lingo like the term “poseur.”  I love the fact that this song is all about the old-school days of skateboarding before it went mainstream. 

The girl dodging “Don’t Want To Go” tells of missing the show to avoid the girl at the show. This classic high school tale of shunning from the ex is a cool, likable track.  

“Bigger Than Kiss” cracks me up as the band verbally assaults the aging Detroit Rock City make-up wearing men, declaring “Ace Frehley can play guitar but he ain’t no f@cking Kerry King” and shouting, “Calling Dr. Love hey get a load of this, Ray beat the piss out of Peter Criss!” The hilarious song continues to brag that Teenage Bottlerocket will one day be bigger than Kiss and by the end of the song the band seems to think they have proved their boast true.

The disheartening “Not OK” is one of my favorite tracks on the album.  I can't help but to relate this song to many times in my past. “Call In Sick” should be the working class’ national anthem.  I could only think of '80’s punk bands like Black Flag while listening to the song, not because of its music but rather its uncomplicated lyrics that tell a truthful story about the feeling many deal with on a day-to-day basis. “Fatso Goes Nutzoid” contains many elements of '80’s speed punk, especially with the rifling off of the lyrics. 

“Without You” is another track I find myself digging over the others and I love the dual vocals along with the fast-paced drumming. The song bums me out, but in a good way, as it describes missing a special someone who no longer is in the picture. It’s songs like this—you know, the ones you relate to— that make me appreciate music all the more.

The songs on They Came From The Shadows are simple but fun and directly to the point. The album seems to end just as quickly as it begins, begging for another listen. I think that is what I love so much about this band: the simplicity. Not one song here exceeds three-and-a-half minutes, but it doesn't matter to me at all. 

It’s nice to see Teenage Bottlerocket skip out on the extra bells and whistles to sound different. They keep it straightforward on this album (and their previous one, for that matter) and make it sound almost too easy. Fans of the Ramones, Screeching Weasel, the Vandals, and even pre-famed Green Day really need to check out this band if they have not already done so.

About Brian McConville