Thursday, December 12th, 2019

Future Teens – Emotional Bachelor

CTRL-F: “big mood”: no results, somehow…


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Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Future Teens describe themselves as “bummer pop,” which is exactly the kind of faux-genre name that pop-punk bands that seem ill at ease with pop-punkness give themselves (see also Los Angeles’ Illuminati Hotties, who describe themselves as “tenderpunk”). It’s not even accurate in this case– “Emotional Bachelor” isn’t all that much of a bummer. (In a year where we got an American Football album, I’m not sure how it could compare.) Instead, it’s a perfect capturing of the messy, ambiguous relationships you cultivate when you have no real idea what you’re doing with your life. The sorta-emo aesthetics do some of the lifting here, but Amy Hoffman and Daniel Radin’s precise lyrical details– the awkward wave to a stranger, the 3 a.m. texts to get lunch, the parties you would have skipped– are the stars here. Their voices mesh well, too, in the way that great punk co-leads do– less duet partners and more two ghosts crying out from separate tombs. It’s great melodrama, as the guitars run like buzzsaws into the backbeats, the kind of incomprehensible interpersonal scrums that will seem like nothing in a year but feel like everything now.
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Iain Mew: The guitars balance perfectly between chime and crunch, the vocals similarly somewhere between Death Cab and Idlewild, and it starts with an amazing bitter pun on the word “lying.” It doesn’t have the heft to get past indie comfort listening, but I’ll definitely take it as that.
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Jonathan Bradley: When older artists sound this worn down by life, we call it Americana, but Future Teens are young enough that their country-tinged guitar anxiety accumulates a pop-punk energy. It places them in a common lineage with groups like Worriers or The Wonder Years, who share a Northeastern origin and an understanding of how engaging earnestness can be. The lyrics speak of Boston-area locations and early-morning hours and feeling adrift in both.
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Alfred Soto: Amy Hoffman and Daniel Radin trade verses and compete for levels of specificity — kissing in Harvard Square, realizing they’ve never seen each other in broad daylight (I can relate!) — that the arrangement can’t match.
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Oliver Maier: Rattles through power pop clichés with maddening elegance and makes me feel like a teenager, probably one of the highest feats an emo-tinged rock song can aspire to. 
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Vikram Joseph: Messaging, but not too much. Trying to get your tone right – funny, warm, but not, y’know, bubbly. Emojis? Which ones? Making plans. Being bailed on. The dark algebra of exactly how many times you can be bailed on and try to rearrange plans and still keep some semblance of dignity. Trying not to tell your friends about him too soon. Logistics, plans, schedules, mutually convenient places to meet. Trying to figure out why you’re left cold by someone who’s a really nice guy. Trying not to get your hopes up when you meet someone who blows your mind. Letting them rise up anyway. Being ghosted. Barely fighting back an anxiety attack in a tapas restaurant surrounded by your extended family as you realise that’s what’s happening. Starting again. Dating is fucking exhausting, an endless churn that more often than not leaves you exactly where you started, and thank god Future Teens have documented it. Pitched somewhere between Kacey Musgraves and Modern Baseball, with guitars that flicker and surge and some exquisite boy-girl harmonies, “Emotional Bachelor” is an incredibly pretty backdrop for a whole lot of disappointment and regret. “Waking up in debt to the night before”, the nausea and disorientation of seeing someone you’ve slept with in an unexpected situation, and drunk 3 a.m. epiphanies that, oh god, maybe he was perfect — the things we go through in the hope of something better.
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Reader average: [7] (1 vote)

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