The Teenage Tom Petties are back! Hotbox Daydreams is the new, highly anticipated album by the garage power pop rockers. This follow-up to last year’s much loved self-titled album, both available via the UK label Safe Suburban Home Records and US-based Repeating Cloud, has a slightly more polished sheen. However, the band’s charming lo-fi and well-crafted alternative pop rock aesthetics are still in full force. It’s an ode to the burnt-out lovable loser and the struggles of figuring out one’s place and purpose in life.
The new album kicks off, and I mean KICKS OFF, with “Trigger’s Broom”. Pounding drums, a rollicking guitar lick and mirrored bassline emerge from a haze of feedback as we’re asked to look back in saddening nostalgia on better times. We are given the gem of a line “you’re someone ’till nobody loves you”, which serves as a fitting thesis for this album of downtrodden and dejected subject matters all soundtracked by blistering and catchy slacker rock. The album keeps the same break-neck pace with “Stoner”, which has a great accompanying video of a ghostly couch potato with the munchies. This song is less a tribute to chill hangouts, and more a revelation of self-awareness in one’s subpar situation. These themes contrast nicely with the energetic guitar/key parts that meander hauntingly throughout the track.
Themes of weed smoking are epitomized in the following track “Greenhorn”. Entrancing harpsichord-like piano riffs accent this anthemic stoner tune that gives us the album’s title. The rocket train of an album slows down slightly on “Find Me”, a playful and catchy piece of “already-been-chewed” bubblegum pop with a sing-along chorus that serves as a cry for help. The verses use the fantastic imagery of being a “snuffed out birthday candle” and “destiny calling, but being on the other line” to paint a picture of passing time and missed opportunities.
The album quickly picks up the pace once again with the acrobatic, intertwining distorted guitar lines of “Swingball Summer”. We also enter into a suite of increasingly self-deprecating subjects like having your band hire a new drummer to replace you (“Swingball Summer”), knowing you are unfit for a job you have just been hired for (“Bad Hire”), and moving back in with one’s parents (“This One’s On You”). Despite the bummer lyrics, the high energy and beautifully sloppy feel of these tracks is somehow still uplifting.
The album is rounded out by a final trio of tracks that cement the themes of feeling like a dirtbag, even so far as to declare candidacy for “asshole of the year”. Melodic guitar lines, bombastic drums, and hazily, laid-back vocals are in full stock, and the Teenage Tom Petties further establish themselves as some of the top modern purveyors of indie, slacker rock. This band would be right at home in a 1990’s-era Matador Records lineup.Hotbox Daydreams is available now on vinyl and digitally via Safe Suburban Home and Repeating Cloud.
Written by John Brouk
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