Review by Jessi Roti – @JessiTaylorRO
Artist: Teen Mom
Washington, D.C.’s Teen Mom, while adopting the feminized band name, aren’t strangers to their emotions. The band’s four-track EP, Gilly, explores an understated, sugary sweetness that only a trio of “sensitive guys” could produce.
Opening track, “Kitchen” introduces the band’s lo-fi fuzz, which echoes the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Real Estate. Toward the end of the six and a half minutes, a bossa nova vibe breaks up the monotony of the languid, neo-shoegaze sound. And while there are moments of droning reverb that leave you wanting a more explosive, shredding guitar or the bang of a bass drum, the tracks flow together seamlessly enough to act as their own breaks.
“Prom Song” and “Say Anything” epitomize the romanticism that the band employs along with the lushness of the instrumentation, giving the release, as a whole, a much more expansive feel rather than a static wall-of-sound that most lo-fi, indie pop falls prey to.
Gilly’s acoustically-driven “Stay Inside” sounds like the end of summer, or of a summer romance. It shrugs off any need of something “heavier,” or less pop, as a truly inspired guitar riff tears up the end of the track. It’s just nice, like feeling the warmth of the sun on your face. Not to mention, it could easily fit on now-defunct band, Girls’ final album.
But here’s the thing, is an EP of four, semi-static, love songs featuring young, Conor Oberst-like whispery vocals enough? Is the vulnerability compelling enough to expand across an LP in the future? Maybe. For a band from D.C., there is an effortless, west coast cool to Teen Mom’s delivery; a beach-bum innocence, if you will. The band knows its identity and knows what it’s doing, but new ground is going to need to be treaded sooner-or-later.
Teen Mom is going to have to turn it up to 11.