Teenage Bottlerocket – Freak Out!

Photo by Katie Hovland

Fat Wreck Chords – Release Date: 7/03/12

With their latest album, Freak Out!, Teenage Bottlerocket has assumed total control of the modern day pop punk throne. While their sound is undeniably influenced by The Ramones and some of the classic Lookout! Records bands of the ‘90s, this time around they’ve diversified their songwriting and basically improved on all aspects of what they do. Everything from the vocals to the musicianship has been kicked up a notch, and such enhancements are evident on each of the record’s 14 tracks. Songs like “Necrocomicon” and “Maverick” incorporate topical and clever humor in their lyrics, as the first deals with zombies taking over the San Diego Comic-Con and the second pays tribute to the hit 1986 film Top Gun. Things take a more serious turn on “Done with Love,” when singer/guitarist Kody Templeman laments a failed relationship with considerable honesty and vulnerability. It’s definitely one of the album’s top songs, if not one of the finest he’s ever written. Templeman again succeeds on “Summertime,” a sugary love song that’s best enjoyed while driving with the windows down and the volume all the way up. Not to be outdone, singer/guitarist Ray Carlisle contributes a contemporary-sounding gem called “Never Gonna Tell You.” It finds the band navigating unfamiliar musical territory with great success, and the same goes for the record’s final entry, “Go with the Flow.” This Sludgeworth-inspired tune is also sung by Carlisle and it fittingly concludes the album on an introspective note. Freak Out! will likely be remembered as Teenage Bottlerocket’s defining full-length. It’s certainly one of the most memorable pop punk releases to come along in recent years and one that needs to be heard by any and all fans of the genre. Take a listen below to “Done with Love.”

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