TEENAGE WRIST: CHROME NEON JESUS
Chrome Neon Jesus
Pop-punk has been flirting with shoegaze for a while now. It’s a trend that began most notably with Title Fight’s 2015 Hyperview, a chorus-laden love letter to early ‘90s British rock that was met with critical acclaim and foreshadowed a sea change in mainstream punk despite alienating the windmilling portion of that band’s fanbase. That torch has now been passed to new kids on the block, Teenage Wrist, whose debut LP Chrome Neon Jesus is one of the best emo-gaze (dreamo?) syntheses to date. The record’s initial charm lies mostly in its songs’ uncanny similarity to the genre’s greatest hits. Multiple callbacks to multiple artists are sometimes present within a single song—the title track plays out like a distillation of Slowdive’s “Alison”, Swervedriver’s “Duel”, and a nonspecific early Oasis epic—and any listener familiar with Olde English alt-rock is sure to catch themselves playing “spot the Creation Records artist” almost immediately. But what distinguishes Teenage Wrist from the innumerable young bands doing something similar is an obvious knowledge of and respect for the material they’re cribbing: “Dweeb” is as excellent as anything their forebears did, and even filler tracks like “Kibo” are more hummable—and more authentically shoegaze—than anything on a Turnover album. Of course, like all bands committed to an older and hyper-specific style of music, Teenage Wrist have a tough road ahead. But if they can escape these anachronistic trappings—shit, they reference a “pay phone” on the first track—and still write such bulletproof pop songs, they’re sure to be with us for a long, long time.