It doesn’t happen that much anymore in these harsh times, but UK four-piece Amoeba Teen kicks off their new full-length with the statement that it’s good to be alive. Of course, that has everything to do with love: “He met a girl at the rock ‘n’ roll show // She’s got it going and she loves The Ramones // She’s not in the mainstream // This week she’s aquamarine” (from Mainstream). That almost sounds too good to be true, and as you could expect halfway through the LP the situation is less positive: “Every morning I awake alone // It got me thinking // Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong” (from January). These are two highlights of the album – it’s a self-titled one, which is a deliberate choice because it was a real band effort to capture the live energy, and a labor of love over two disrupted years. You’ll understand, the ten fresh songs here touch on the perennial classic pop themes of love and loss. Mark Britton (guitar, vocals), Mike Turner (guitar, vocals), Carl Bayliss (drums, vocals), and Simon Muttitt (bass) deliver them in a melodic power pop package, but the content with harmony vocals and suggestions of new-wave, twang, balladry and – strongly – glam rock make it a colorful and varied whole. One of the tracks was written using artificial intelligence – we don’t know which one, but I suspect a computer isn’t creative enough for lyrics like this: “Give it up // You couldn’t give it up // You got physical // (Ooh)… alcohol, pills and methanol // You’re so invincible – mystical – ooh… // You had to taste it all” (from Barlight Crawl, another standout). The band wanted to make a kick-ass album that people could turn their car stereos up and enjoy during the first hints of summer, and in that mission they succeeded magnificently.
Amoeba Teen is out now digitally and on CD through Big Stir Records.