Frames - 1% Faster
Punk - But Faster
get an idea of what the Teenage Frames sound like, imagine
if you will that some night in the late 70s at the famous
Studio 54 club in New York City, members of the Sex Pistols
and the Rolling Stones decided to procreate with each other
in the basement after consuming tons of alcohol, cocaine and
whatever other illegal substances that may have been around.
that their efforts were somehow successful. The children of
this hypothetical union grow up in the midwestern United States
listening to their parents' music, as well as other early
80s punk bands like the Ramones and the Clash and more contemporary
bands on the radio like Green Day. Inspired and fed up with
most of the "pop trash" out there, the kids decide to form
their own group. This group turns out to be Chicago's Teenage
you might guess from their pedigree, these guys aren't half
bad. 1% Faster is the band's second effort, and true
to its name and the original intention of the punk movement,
the album is loud, fast, and to the point (14 songs in a scant
36:22). With song titles like the opener "Drug Power" and
"Dopesville", one might dismiss them thinking, "Oh great,
another loud, obnoxious punk band with a pro-drug message
and a chip on its shoulder against society. That was cool
20 years ago."
if you thought that, you would be short-changing them. There's
no denying that there's a healthy dose of traditional punk
attitude here, but a close listen reveals a band that is trying
to shed the conventions and clichés of its punk and glam rock
roots, or at least not be tied down too much to any one cliché.
This album really grows on you with time. Don't be scared.
These guys look and sound pretty normal. No wild-colored mohawks
here. It is surprising how catchy tunes like, "I Want To Go
Out Tonight,", "Here Comes The City" and "Back To Motor City"
band was impressive enough to draw the attention of famous
Chicago indie rock producer Steve Albini, who engineered half
the tracks on the record. Mainstream rock fans might recognize
Albini's name from the work he did on albums like Nirvana's
In Utero and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's Walking
Into Clarksdale. The evidence of a certain classic rock
sound is clear and distinguishes the band from just straight
most punk bands, lead singer Frankie Delmane can't really
sing, but he scowls in tune. It is painful the few times he
actually tries to hit a note. Delmane sounds a lot like a
younger Mick Jagger, which may actually contribute to the
band being pidgeon-holed more than anything. I don't understand
why a lot of punk-type singers have English accents (like
Green Day). Pardon me, Frankie, but aren't you from Chicago?
I didn't catch many of the lyrics because of Delmane's style,
from what I can gather, his message is decent. He speaks out
against teen idols in the 90-second tune "Teenage Letdown"
(Take that 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys.) "Glitter Parade"
seems to be a protest against glam rock pretension, while
"Metropolitan World" slams the big city lifestyle. The chorus
of "I'm Goin' Home" can't help but remind one of Eric Cartman's
famous remark on South Park, "Screw you guys. I'm going home."
the band has some nice surprises. Just when you think you
have them pegged as a straight-ahead guitar, bass and drums
punk rock band, they catch you off guard with the synthesizer
effect in "Who Are The Darlings Of The Avant Garde?", the
funky bassline of "Dopesville", or percussion effects like
the steel drums at the end of "Living It Up."
Teenage Frames seem like a promising young band, but at $13.99
on CDNow, and with most songs clocking in under three minutes,
that's more than one dollar per tune. I feel they owe us at
least fifteen more minutes or 5-10 more tunes to make it a
better buy. However, if you like it and don't mind the price,
buy it. It's bands like these who are going to take rock and
roll's original rebellious spirit into the next century and
turn the music into something new and all their own.
out of 5.0