When it comes to early punk rock, the best bands always made changes for the worse: the Angry Samoans became a flaccid psych-pop band, the Meatmen switched to motorcycle cock metal, etc. The change always hurt, but the results were at least marginally interesting, unlike the dozens of albums that crappy pop-punk bands like Pennywise and Screeching Weasel churn out all the time. Epitaph and Fat Wreck Chords are creative tar pits, and their legions of dinosaur bands will all sink into the depths of hell as I, the God of all generic pop-punk, raise plague and pestilence upon them.
Amongst the locusts and such, I’d probably spare Teenage Bottlerocket. It’s a repeat of their previous albums for sure, featuring the same storming Ramones and Misfits-inspired melodies that have been their signature for over a decade. The only real variety is in the tempos, which switch between uptempo to very fast. The best tracks are a Kevin Smith pop-culture junkies dream, with references to Vincent Price and Metallica peppered throughout.
The album ends on a debbie-downer with some crappy ballad, but even that can’t stop Teenage Bottlerocket from being one of the best we-write-the-same-song-over-and-over bands out there. It makes you feel like these guys are living their adolescent punk dream for all of us, cranking out the same quality three chords until the coroner pries the guitars from their cold, dead hands. The Ramones, the Misfits, the Damned, and all the rest of them couldn’t do it, but maybe Teenage Bottlerocket can.