Sharing names with the weirdly popular MTV reality show, Washington D.C.-based Teen Mom doesn’t have many similarities with the former. The show refusing to die, revived as Teen Mom 2, the band ceasing to exist.
With the release of their debut LP, Groovy, Teen Mom are calling it quits. Besides the LP, the Washington D.C. based trio has previously put out two sparkling EPs. Trading the Washington Wizards for the Denver Nuggets, guitarist Chris Kelly’s move to Colorado officially put the band’s future on hold. Along with Kelly, Sean Dalby helms the drums and Tom MacWright slaps the bass.
The band’s latest is a tad step away from their dream pop origins. Their two EPs, Gilly and Mean Tom were anchored by shimmering reverb that tucked all of their pop intuition underneath. Groovy has the band moving away from the bubbly earworm “I Wanna Go Out” to a much more tempered and toned while retaining their pop awareness.
Lyrically, the record deals with the desire for change, which eventually came to fruition. On the majority of tracks, Kelly professes his distaste for the stagnant lifestyle, stuck at home with his parents, the trivial 9 to 5 office life. “When You Go (Waltz)” deals with living in a less than stellar routine (“Another pointless day / I went to work / and I came home / with nothing to say”). On the colorful “I Don’t Know My Name,” Kelly, faintly resembling Dean Wareham (Luna, Galaxie 500), struggles with which life direction to take and personal identity (“I wish I knew what I wanted to do”).
Slow crawling opener, “Boyfriends,” is an anti-climactic start to the record, with slow churning melodies that snowballs into an aggressive yet florid outro. The trio’s pop disposition makes its first of many appearance on the blitzing “Wish,” fraught with jammy guitar buckles and persnickety bass lines. Driven by an infectious glossy bass line, the tempered “Naked In The Eyes of My Love” is the record’s catchiest track, with Kelly coming to terms with the repercussions stemming from his desire for a fresh start (“Staying in is fine with me / I sit back and think of when / I thought when my life would begin”). In a similar fashion to the opener, “Girlfriend” ends the streak of scrambling pop with cold timbre, featuring a dissonant Neil Young-esque build.
Removing the reverb that veiled their earlier work, the record is a fine showcase of the band’s pure pop intentions. Technically, Groovy would be the band’s swan song, but it felt like the band was starting to put it together in a big way.