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Home » Albums in Review

Teenage Kicks expunge the “Spoils of Youth”

Submitted by on May 8, 2014 – 12:51 amNo Comment

Teenage KicksThere’s a point in everyone’s life where you either have to decide to grow up, or not. When it comes to the Teenage Kicks, they figure they can have both.

The brotherly duo from Toronto, composed of Peter and Jeff van Helvoort the Teenage Kicks are a force to be reckoned with in the rock regime of today’s music scene.

Their latest offering Spoils of Youth epitomizes what these brothers are all about, and what teenage angst carried into adulthood can bring to life. 

The record was just released at the end of April this year, and the brothers celebrated with an official launch show sponsored by Indie88 at the Horseshoe Tavern in their hometown.

The album comes in strong at just 11 tracks, but each one packs more punch than the other, and start to finish doesn’t cease to amaze. Peter’s production work has increased dramatically on this album, and his talent as vocalist and guitarist shines through more on this album than ever because of it.Spoils of YouthThe first track is titled “Brooklyn Bridge” and is a shining example of what I was just talking about.

It opens with a clean guitar riff, although it’s hollow it’s also very deep and  heavy. Then enters the soft vocals of Peter and Jeff in the background harmonizing, then it picks up as Peter shifts into a falsetto singing style with Jeff still rocking tenor. Then the pair just hit you with an auditory ass-kicking as the distortion and drums kick in.

The next track “Curse Words” picks up right where the last left off with pumping kick and snare with an entertaining, almost bluesy overdriven guitar lick. The Teenage Kicks have an uncanny ability to create great, yet simple progressions in their songs, from all musical aspects.TK5 TK3It’s not just that the guitars, drums, or vocals that are changing up constantly, but they’re in sync at perfect moments, like the hooks and refrains, but then during bridges and breakdowns they’ll choose to emphasize what instrument or parts to accentuate the feeling they’re conveying.

The album goes on in true alt-rock fashion with tracks like “Shit-Eater,” which has a power chord driven rock ballad to it, with anthem style vocals breaking up verses from Peter’s tongue. This is definitely the “get psyched” track of the album.

“Digging up Old Bones” has a bit more of a nostalgic air to it, and opens with a softer electric guitar. Where other musicians would more than likely substitute in an acoustic guitar for these softer ballads, Peter keeps it real and raw with the electric constantly, using perfect intuition for when to use delay, distortion, overdrive, or clean channels. It just works, no other way to say it.

The first single and video from their debut LP “Houdini” (video below) has a powerful punk-style opening guitar and drum track that just gets your head nodding. The video shows them crashing a wedding and hilarity ensues, be sure to check it out.

The album ends on a dark track called “Your Shadow” with a lo-fi bass guitar opening and morphed vocals before the high-pitched guitar notes kick in and the track picks up the pace a little bit. This album consistently picks up instead of slowing down, the mark of a truly great rock album.

Review and live photos by Devin Size

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