Album review: Teenage Wrist – Still Love

Teenage Wrist craft murky yet beautiful sounds on their third album, Still Love…

Album review: Teenage Wrist – Still Love
Emma Wilkes

There was an irony to Teenage Wrist titling their 2021 album Earth Is A Black Hole. Despite it referencing a phenomenon in space where no light can be found, the Californian duo, at points, began to grasp towards hope.

Looking at the artwork of its follow-up, in which a rainbow smashes a hole in the sky above, it’s easy to wonder if there’ll be more of the same. Opener Sunshine would have you thinking so, commencing with a squall of guitar loud enough to straighten your posture before exploding wonderfully into a fuzzy cloud of euphoric noise. It doesn’t start, however, how it means to go on, but at least it transpires that happy is something Teenage Wrist can be great at.

On top of that, they’ve gotten even better at doing murk and despair. Dark Sky blends crunching riffs with swirling shoegaze in the most poetic song about light pollution and the climate crisis you might ever come across, while Cigarette Two-Step’s Gojira-esque introduction builds towards an intoxicatingly dark, churning bridge: ‘Back to the earth I go / I’d rather die than feel this way.’ Elsewhere, Cold Case broods at a slower tempo, made all the more beautiful by its intertwining layers of swelling shoegaze harmonics and rumbling bass, proving that the band have more confidently got a handle on their sense of cohesiveness.

While their heavier moments are generally more immediately arresting, Teenage Wrist’s softer tunes are a little more mixed. Something Good strips back proceedings to the bare essentials in a way that’s both gauzy and gritty at once, but nonetheless intriguing. In contrast, Diorama feels a little too minimalistic and is consequently overshadowed by the tracks immediately before and after. The most ambitious track is saved till last in the form of Ketamine, a barren song that feels so lo-fi that listening to it almost like overhearing a casual studio session rather than a fully-mastered song. It might sound a little strange at first, but has a beautiful, muted sense of intimacy, bringing an end to a record that ought to push this band as far into the spotlight as they deserve to be.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Nothing, Fleshwater, Softcult

Still Love is released on August 4 via Epitaph

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