by Carly Shea
Proclaiming the use of Walkmans and running over cops in front of doughnut shops as cool again, Teenage Bottlerocket is back with another Punk Rock album titled, They Came From The Shadows. Veterans of the post-millennium Punk scene, Teenage Bottlerocket has been around since 2001 with four full albums and five EPs. The band consists of 5 Neo-Punks: Ray Carlisle, Brandon Carlisle, (Brandon and Ray are twins), Kody Templeman, and Miguel Chen. Since their formation in Laramie, Wyoming, the band has “label-hopped” with 4 different record labels, and are currently with Fat Wreck Records. Although Teenage Bottlerocket has been veterans of the Punk scene for nine years, they haven’t blown up on the mainstream like Rancid or Screeching Weasel. Still, they have a devout fan base, similar to a cult following. Teenage Bottlerocket is fighting for Punk Rock with loud chords and angst ridden lyrics, but at the same time is being submissive to the Punk Pop movement in their most recent album. Punk Pop is more easily sold than hardcore Punk, and Teenage Bottlerocket is switching over to the Punk Pop-side.
The very first track on They Came From The Shadows starts off with a heavy drum beat which you can’t help but tap your feet to. Soon after is the rhythmic guitar shredding and in addition to the feet tapping, you are now bopping your head to the chords. As if this track couldn’t get any catchier, Ray Carlisle comes in pumping out lyrics saying that the band is “making skate a f**king threat again”. Only their first track, Skate Or Die has set a high expectation for the rest of They Came From The Shadows and the survival of Punk Rock.
Feeling Punk Rock while wearing my Chucks, I eagerly pushed play on the next track, Don’t Want To Go. Expecting more rapid drum beats and snarky lyrics, I eagerly listened on, but the second the lyrics started, I felt that the entire album changed. No longer were the lyrics full of rebellion, but were a fast paced Punk- Pop-formula used on many Green Day albums. I was majorly disappointed.
Maybe their record label just wanted to throw in a few Punk Pop songs amidst the Hardcore Punk ones to appeal to a broader audience. But the more songs I listened to, the more disappointed I became. Songs like Do What? and Tonguebiter mirrored the pop-ish styling’s of Don’t Want To Go, and the CD lost it’s hardcore roots. The songs were full of Emo lyrics about relationship problems with a Punk backbeat. Where were the songs about moshing, hardcore drugs, and graffiti? What happened to God Save The Queen? Next time anyone tells you Punk Rock is dead, rest assured, it’s not. It’s just been drowned in the heavily marketed Pop that true Punk Rock once rivaled