In an alternate universe where the offspring of a Jello Biafra/Chrissy Hynde/Kim Gordon threesome formed a garage band, three chords of fuzz and melodic dissonance would dominate the space-time continuum.
Lucky for us, such genetics were not required to deliver the medium that is Birmingham, Alabama’s Teen Getaway. Mixing surf rock and cow punk with ethereal samples and time changes, these elements collide to form what may be the headphone album of 2o13: Hits & Missives.
Such a declaration may seem odd given the band members’ respective pedigrees (Delicate Cutters, Wooden Wand, Nowhere Squares, the Communicating Vessels label) but the foursome of Janet Simpson (vocals/guitar), Jim Fahy (vocals/guitar), Andy Sizemore (bass) and Spencer C. Shoults (drums) combine to create what the band has self-coined “Bubblegum Skronk” which is evident from the second song, “Explode!”
From the album’s title to songs like “God Save the Spleen” and the French-sung “On Ze Floor,” tongue-in-cheek lyrical wordplay dominates. It’s apt the band references Fernando Pessoa (“Pessoa”), the Portuguese literary figure who penned the fragmented autobiography, The Book of Disquiet. Unedited at the time of his death, the book’s title serves as a metaphor for Hits & Missives, which borrows from The Pixies’ sonic dynamic. Teen Getaway all but destroy the quotidian formula with lyrical shifts and abrupt tempo changes, crafting a musical equivalent of Tourette’s Syndrome.
You faked your own death
And slipped out of view
And hid in the shadows
Until you saw everything
The beauty of Hits & Missives lies in the spontaneity of the songs, as if members are feeling their way through them for the first time. Through the 13 tracks on Hits & Missives jarring, staccato guitars veer over and under vocals that emerge from dark corners to compete for space. Anchored by low-mixed bass lines, drums that could be no more perfect punctuate obtuse lyrics that on paper would read like E.E. Cummings poems.
Je t’aime Hits & Missives. It begs to be played as loud as possible, but if listening through headphones I suggest keeping the volume low so as to hear it again and again.
Hits & Missives is available today through This Is American Music. Stream and purchase the album below.