Short, punchy and spirited punk abound on the debut from Ghent trio Teen Creeps.
Yes, punk. Not alt-punk, post-punk, pop-punk. Punk. Usually when punk is evoked it is as an homage – and the result is often something hooky, shiny and radio ready. Birthmarks is true punk – raw, fast and set at a pummelling pace. Yet cheerful too. The band have described their sound as “between punk and melody” – which is a good summary.
‘Hindsight’ is a case in point, running the gamut from thrashing riffs and shotgun drum blasts through to sweet falsetto and gentle picking.
The result is a cheering collection that may be raw, unfiltered & jam-heavy, but never bleak. There is no effort to be edgy, no lengthy dirges, no filler. Birthmarks is free from the travails of a band reaching for ego or needless embellishment.
The result is not constraining. Teen Creeps experiment with the format, pushing punk minimalism into exciting new directions. ‘Mercury’ features a drum break which, say it with me now, sounds exactly like Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ – and generally sees a more melodic tone for the band, with the fuzz brought down a notch or two. Contrast this with the bow-out tune, the trashing ‘Forging Kindness’ – which ups the tempo before a sweat-soaked finale.
Birthmarks is like a boisterous long lost friend, who comes into your life, tips it upside down, and wants a night on the town even when it’s a rainy Wednesday.