(self released, 2010)
I couldn’t Google search “Girls in the Eighties” without appending “Teenage Royalty” to the end of the search parameters for fear of what would appear on my browser at work. I could just envision pages of .xxx domain names coming up and me frantically clicking “Back” and “Clear Browser History” out of fear and shame. Turns out the band comes up first anyway, so I didn’t have anything to worry about. (Although how awesome would it be if Critical Masses had a .xxx domain? Try criticalmasses.xxx on for size! Doesn’t that look cool? Triple-X stands for badass. Right? If Vin Diesel’s taught me anything…)
And just like that street gang – no, “organization, buster” – who has hopped on the latest Internet bandwagon, Girls in the Eighties took to their Myspace page and self-released Teenage Royalty, an absolute gem of a fuzz-pop that recalls very little of the titular decade without it mattering in the slightest. And tech-savvy as they are, these Girls, while not being girls at all (well, except for the one), added a Mediafire link that connected to a zip file containing said album, allowing you or me to download at our leisure. (Again, maybe not at work, in the event Mediafire links set off alarm bells in your IT department.) For this we thank you, Girls in the Eighties – you have truly made our lives easier.
And more fun. ’Cause, hello – Teenage Royalty is one heckuva record. Chase Reynolds, the man – and I repeat, because I can’t make this clear enough, not the girl – behind the band, brought his solo inclinations to a group environment and set about elevating them to a level where adjectives like “awesome,” “sweet,” and “dudical” are not only accepted but in fact encouraged. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the band’s done it on the DIY tip from the beginning – they’ve got a Tumblr that features a few releases, and according to a Stereogum post about them, Teenage Royalty initially hit the web via Deerhunter’s blog, but I don’t see any evidence of that. Maybe I just missed it. Even though I combed the archives and searched for “Girls in the Eighties” on the blog itself. I’m probably doing something horribly wrong.
I like fuzz pop – I like it even better when the melodies are irresistible and easily discernible from the hazy surroundings. GitE totally hits that sweet spot, starting the record with the fabulous slow-burning “Vacation,” guitars and synths piling on top of each other and the vocals, obscured by distortion throughout, buried in the mix (but not too buried). And they switch it up like pros throughout, not stopping at one stylistic signpost too long to bore you. They jangle too, as should-be-hit-single “Yesterdays Don’t Mean Shit” is their “Mrs. Robinson,” as filtered, of course, through the druggy slack of Evan Dando’s Lemonheads. “Too Cool for This Crowd” follows a similar path, and is probably about Evan Dando for all I know. They can do dreamy, keyboard-driven, zero-G space pop too, like the title track, “Glory Fades” (Sic Transit Gloria, right???), and “Youth Experiment.” Even those with a hankering for Silversun Pickups can be sated with the thick churn of “Burn Your Riches,” “Slow Motion,” and “Future Years,” but what it takes the Pickups to do in 5 minutes, Reynolds does in a minute thirty. (Or three minutes twenty. “Future Years” is a little longer.)
What ends up being a fairly upbeat, fun record filled to the brim with a joy of recording and a clear talent for layering sounds and melodies for maximum effect without the result sounding overstuffed, was begat during a period of personal turmoil and envisioned only after a mushroom-fueled awakening. That’s a good thing, for Reynolds, obviously, and for us, because we get great music, leavened with gravitas and seasoned with psychedelic additives, at once light and dense. That’s a pretty good trick to pull off if you can do it. Fortunately, Girls in the Eighties can. More Mediafire links please! (Or I can pay you for the music, I guess.)
RIYL: Swirlies, The Wedding Present, Silversun Pickups, The Lemonheads, Coma Cinema
“YESTERDAYS DON’T MEAN SHIT”