[10 September 2012]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Wyoming pop-punk outfit Teenage Bottlerocket is back with Freak Out!, another blistering set of catchy, tongue-in-cheek tunes that make them sound like the snotty younger brothers of the Ramones. The new set, despite all its jokey tunes, is actually a pretty cohesive album, moving its way through a laundry list of supposed freaks and sending them up in both funny and sort of loving ways. We get the geek-fest rocker that is “Necrocomicon”, the faux-scary look at basement-show culture on “Punk House of Horror”, an ode to the dude rocking out alone at a party on “Headbanger” and so on. These songs are plenty funny, but Freak Out! actually works better when it tackles more honest isolation in the form of love songs like “Done With Love” and “Never Gonna Tell You”. These guys are quick with a joke, and they’ve just a quick with a slicing hook or a sweet melody, but at some point the jokes get old. Freak Out!, for all its fun, is the sound of a serious rock band that could stand to take itself just a tad more seriously.