Review: Teen/Ragers - "Rick Neagan"

Teen/Ragers - Rick Neagan
(2013 Coffin Boner)
"A beautifully narcotic effect that lies somewhere beyond instrumentation."
No name is better suited for this Oklahoma City trio than the one that they've already chosen. Teen/Ragers' sound is fueled by pure adolescent angst. Tight, math-rock riffage takes center stage on their debut disc, Rick Neagan, allowing the band pinpoint control over the overall atmosphere of each track. They have an uncanny ability to shift in mood, tempo and dynamic at will as their fast-paced, highly technical guitaristry bleeds through a paper-thin layer of tape hiss like a fat sharpie marker. Though the blurred sound quality and unstable nature of the music itself may be at first overwhelming, you'll soon learn that they give the album a distinct charm, a dreaminess that doesn't necessarily warrant a shoegaze tag, but certainly does create a beautifully narcotic effect that lies somewhere beyond instrumentation.

Standout cut "Art Is For Pussies" effectively demonstrates just about all that I've mentioned above. Listening to the two minute track feels like buying guitar riffs in bulk; Teen/Ragers pack more original and intriguing guitar licks into 120 seconds than some bands include on a single album, sometimes sacrificing coherence, but never raw energy, just to fit them all in. Though quietly mixed, there's something in-your-face about the song, probably due to its screamed vocals and short dramatic breakdowns. "Punka Punka Punka" is as streamlined a song as you'll find on the short album consistently chugging forward on a surprisingly steady beat only to end with a nice touch of antiquated keyboards that remind me of Julian Lynch's "Rancher". Rick Neagan is beautifully aggressive, and a solid effort by a young band to watch.