By Luigi Sibona
I wish all indie rock sounded like this; brimming with angst and expression, fuelled with a frenetic punk spirit, Teen Creeps’ rollicking ‘Birthmarks’ is one of the year’s standout debuts so far.
‘Birthmarks’ opens in attention grabbing style with lead single ‘Sidenote’. With longing, melancholic guitar leads and propulsive drum track, ‘Sidenote’ sets the stage for Bert Vliegen’s livewire vocal lines.
Bert‘s vocal performance is a so pained and vital that it makes even the more lackadaisical instrumentation on tracks like the spacious ‘Good Intentions’ feel loaded with anxiety.
The production job mirrors the songwriting perfectly; it sounds like everything’s being held together by sellotape and twigs, threatening to fall apart at any moment, but managing to keep it all together. It’s a fine line but Teen Creeps toe it expertly. This ramshackle approach gives the record a propulsive charm. If you have affection for that fuzzed out alt-rock of the 90’s, the vagabond sonic’s of ‘Birthmarks’ will have you from the word go.
Listen to ‘Sidenote’ here:
Typified by album standout, ‘Will’, the track cascades through with such reckless abandon it manages to be at once ramshackle, yearning and oddly peppy. Lines like “I wanna’ be someone but I guess that turned out wrong” pierce so deep in the shared conscious of the disenfranchised post-youth (I speak from that perspective myself).
‘Birthmarks’ is a firecracker of a debut and a sure-fire hit for anyone who mourns the days you could have Sub Pop bands topping the charts.