On ‘Chrome Neon Jesus’, Teenage Wrist prove that quality alternative rock never goes out of style

There’s something that’s truly warm and nostalgic about Teenage Wrist’s 2018 debut album, Chrome Neon Jesus. Whether it’s the album artwork that brings to mind Catherine Wheel’s sophomore album Chrome or the band’s sound that conjures memories of discovering bands like The Verve and/or Ride for the first time, there’s a lot to enjoy on this record. But it’s not just the aforementioned nostalgic warmth that makes this record so awesome – it’s the timeless quality in songs like the title track that make Teenage Wrist such an exciting act.

Teenage Wrist obviously aren’t the only band pulling off this style currently. Bands like Narrow Head, Superheaven (plz make more music), and even the likes of Boston Manor are pulling from ’90s alt-rock and shoegaze acts with regularity. But it’s Teenage Wrist who are one of the best at doing it, simply by writing arena-sized songs.

This album really hits a peak level of professionalism because it’s fueled by intense, intriguing drum work, bright melodies, and crunchy alt-rock guitars that simply sound huge. There’s a lot of influences coalescing here – dream pop, shoegaze, noise rock, alt-rock, and more – but it’s Teenage Wrist’s ability to bring all these elements together that makes this album a must-listen.

Album highlight “Stoned, Alone” will immediately draw you in. While the lyrics express disillusionment and boredom, the music itself is anything but. With the kind of warmth that lends itself to the nostalgia of years gone by, tracks this infectious are pretty much timeless. Fantastic drumming, vocals, and a familiar guitar tone all help make the song one of the best in the Teenage Wrist catalogue.

Luckily, the album isn’t just about this one huge single. Album highlight “Daylight” echoes some of the greatest bands of the genre like Ride’s Nowhere album – just with more guitar punch. It’s in this way that Teenage Wrist ensures the songs that make up Chrome Neon Jesus don’t put you to sleep. Even on tracks that lean more towards their dream pop influences, like on “Swallow”, they never forget to turn up the distortion. Best played LOUDLY.

But wait, there’s more! “Black Flamingo”, with its anthemic chorus and memorable melodies, was simply made to be played on MTV in the early ’90s. The fact that it (like the rest of the album) still sounds so fresh now readily speaks to its timelessness. And sometimes the best songs are the most simplistic ones. Take “Dweeb”, for example. With its anthemic-sounding guitars and a generally easy vocal performance, its obvious shoegaze-influenced sound is reminiscent of most of Chrome Neon Jesus. Yet, it still manages to stand out.

On Chrome Neon Jesus, there simply aren’t weak tracks. With plenty of grunge, shoegaze, dream pop, and alternative rock influences from across the spectrum, Teenage Wrist really managed to differentiate themselves from the legion of bands that decided to try this style with plenty of reverence for the genres and bands that influenced them – blazing their own trail in the process. Timeless, yet still relevant for these times.

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