It’s fun watching bands grow and become absolute stars. Whether they’re an international act you’ve stumbled across online or a local band you first saw opening a festival/ headline tour a million or five years ago, the fun of it all remains the same. Seeing and hearing Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers crush it on their debut album is just as rewarding for anyone who’s followed their rise over the past few years.
Here on I Love You, there’s a feeling the band has grown comfortable in who they are, what they’re producing and where they want to be as a band. There’s a mix of full-blown punk moments, mixed in with earnest love songs and a genuinely lovely smattering of indie rock. And yeah, sometimes, if there is a broad spectrum of genres on a body of work, it can feel a little lost and muddled. But not here on I Love You; it feels like the album is exactly what it’s meant to be.
The opener and recent single, “I Used To Be Fun” goes entirely against its title and is nothing but fun. With a chorus to be sung with the car windows down (which is quite possibly what the band were doing when the chorus was first written), “I Used To Be Fun” might be less than 3 minutes, but it’s long enough to still be a ripper start to the album.
“Treat Me Better” is an urgent punk burner as an ongoing sentiment of wanting to be treated better in a relationship is evident from the earliest moments, while “Backseat Driver” feels a little more wistful and longing. When combined, the guitar hook and harmonies of both the chorus and verses of “Backseat Driver” is the peak of the song.
The titular “I Love You” is hypnotic through its three-minute run, as the titular love begins to border on obsession, while the tones down near acoustic vibes of “Your House My House” feels like it should almost be titled ‘I Love You pt. 2’, with the love from “I Love You” beginning to falter. The probable peak of the album comes on “Salt”, featuring The Grogans. The guitars are crisp and clean, drums are consistently emphatic, and the vocals are as strong here as anywhere else on the album. Honestly, hearing the lyric ‘tell me something good’ in each chorus is like dopamine. Hook it to my veins.
The urgent and immediate nature of “I Don’t Want It”, when followed by the 40-second punch of “Cayenne Pepper”, lead single “AHHHH!” and “Lights Out” could well be the best four song run on the album. It is crisp, forceful and clear in its messaging. Simply put, if at this point you’re not into the album, it’s probably time to reassess your listening habits.
A personal favourite from the album comes from the third to last “Toe Bone”. A cute love song about wanting the capability to send more love letters, “Toe Bone” is bulletproof from front to back and honestly feels like it could be the near to end of set highlight every crowd looks for at a show. Album closer “Kissy Kissy” is an emphatic up yours to an asshole that brings all the best elements of the album to the forefront and helps round out the release as well as you and the band could have hoped for.
Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers have nailed their debut album with the thirteen songs on I Love You. You can hear the fun and joy the band has in their music and with each other. The laughs smattered throughout many of the songs’ closing seconds adds charm and identity to the band and album, all the while bringing a smile to listeners new and old. I Love You is a belter from start to finish. I’m sure it’ll be the same in live settings.
FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
I Love You is out Friday 6 October.
Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers head out on a national in October and November. For more details and ticket info, head here.
Header image credit: Michelle Pitiris @sheisaprodite