Teenage Wasteland

Written by: PP on 23/03/2007 15:58:58

Pop punk has been a genre gone largely unnoticed in Denmark, where chart music and underground metal have been the dominant forces thanks to Boogie and, but this is about to change as the country's undisputable kings of pop punk Pinboys have just released their debut album "Teenage Wasteland", filled with massive melodies and enough emo rock hooks to grab the attention of a wide spectrum of fans from a variety of genres.

It is disputable however how much pop punk is in Pinboys' sound these days. The opening numbers "My Everlong" and "Nothing Left To Lose" are massively big in sound, medium-high paced but neither feature the kind of cheerful, joyous energy bands like Set Your Goals and Fall Out Boy incorporate to their music. Instead, we are treated with Disco Ensemble-ish emo inspired vocals, which are neither cheerful nor depressing, but somewhere in the middle grounds. The dual vocal contrast between the slightly rawer male voice of Jacob and the female one of Anne works to the band's advantage on these tracks, occasionally topping each other, at other times alternating lines, but they are always spot on and fit the emotionally neutral sound of Pinboys perfectly. The reason I'm saying emotionally neutral is because while a track like "Dead Reasons" has plenty of pace and much "woah-ohh" filler, it never really sounds summery, but on the other hand there aren't any angstful songs here either. Either way, the songs rock out somewhere between pop punk and emo, and have found a good balance of the two to create an original and perhaps even surprisingly professional sound for a Danish band of this genre.

But despite the originality across the album, the band must have drawn its influences from somewhere. After all, Scandinavia isn't exactly the promised geographic area of pop punk. Therefore it's not surprising to hear late-New Found Glory influence in "A Story To Tell", where the band sings "It's allll downhill from hereee" very much like the aforementioned band on "Catalyst", or the very Yellowcard-tuned guitar sound on the first three tracks. However, where Yellowcard went wrong with "Lights And Sounds", Pinboys succeeds with "Teenage Wasteland". The similar massive all-around theatric sound that Yellowcard evolved to from their more confined sound didn't fit them at all, but it would be difficult to imagine a song like "Signing Off" to sound good in any smaller, less produced form than now. But yet at the same time "Honest To Say" has that much less spacey "Home From Home"-era Millencolin sound to it, and is among my favorites on the album.

It's songs like that one and the other uptempo ones where the band succeeds. They are instantly catchy, very melodic and singalongable, all of which are ingredients for a great pop punk record. They aren't reinventing the wheel here by any means, but what's more important is that they have mastered the art of writing good songs, despite a few slower songs on the album that don't work as well such as "End Of The Road". The slow tempo of these makes them sound more like pop rock songs and at least personally I find them somewhat unsuitable to the otherwise very upbeat record, and they are also the sole reason why the rating isn't as high as it could be based on the incredibly strong first third of the album.

A national radio and TV breakthrough should only be a matter of time (and hopefully a Roskilde appearance), but will "Teenage Wasteland" break them into international knowledge? Probably not more than in Germany to be honest (as they have toured heavily over there), but if they behold their songwriting capabilities and avoid falling into the sophomore slump of artificially inflating your sound to bigger than it is by slowing down songs and increasing production, I don't see anything preventing Pinboys taking over charts in the UK, and why not even in the US. If there were a perfect record for the current spring weather where summers is at the doorsteps but winter is still lurking from behind, "Teenage Wasteland" would be it.

Download: Nothing Left To Lose, My Everlong, Honest To Say
For the fans of: Millencolin, Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory
Listen: Myspace

Release date 15.03.2007
Iceberg Records

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