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Tweens – Tweens

Nicola Sloan


It’s hard not to enjoy the spiky energy of this Cincinnati trash-pop trio’s debut album. Their sound is like a kind of musical pick ‘n’ mix: colourful, addictive and definitely full of additives, while frontwoman Bridget Battle has the kind of attitude and style that would draw comparisons to the likes of Karen O and Beth Ditto.

Album opener Bored In The City is an infectious rant in which Battle wails ‘This town, it’s eating me alive’ and ‘I’m too young to feel this tired’. Here, here! There is a clear retro punk influence that runs throughout the whole album. Following track McMicken maintains this sprightly badass energy.

Be Mean follows in the same vibe, in which Battle wails ‘Your sweetness is killing me’ and ‘I want you to be mean’. She’s definitely not a happy bunny. A definite album highlight is the contagious Rattle + Rollin. Here Battle’s vocals pierce over churning three chord combinations and a giant hook of a chorus.

There’s a bit of a breather mid-way with the slower tempo of the instrumental Stoner, before plunging again into the swagger of Don’t Wait Up, in which Battle basically tells her mama not to expect her home early.

Of course, one of the main appeals of punk – its simplicity – can also be its downfall if sustained for too long. After all, there’s only so much you can do with killer three-chord combinations, repeated over and over. And yes, it’s all been done before. This album is not too long, but the songs do sound pretty much similar.

There’s the slower Want U as the penultimate track – this time Battle’s vocals are more plaintive, over washes of reverb, and summon up the image of driving through a rainy night in the city, before the album kicks back into punk gear for final track Star Studder.

So perhaps it’s not that original. But what it IS is hook-filled, fun, and it does genuinely channel the energy of punk, if not its essence. A trash-pop delight from beginning to end.