Monday, September 17, 2018

The Rock*A*Teens - Sixth House (Merge, 2018)

The Rock*A*Teens
Sixth House

Rating: 7 bottles of raven’s blood out of 10

The Rock*A*Teens were a Merge records mainstay in the late nineties and early oughts, frequently opening for Superchunk or one of the other Merge bands I was always seeing play live.  I never really liked or disliked them, but I was often annoyed that I had to sit through another set by them to get to the band I actually wanted to see.  Fast forward nearly two decades later, and after a lengthy hiatus the band returns with “Sixth House,” their sixth album (I’m sure that name was a coincidence)…and I quite dig it.  Have the Rock*A*Teens changed?  Honestly, not really – a little more mature I guess, and a little less noisy, but they’re still doing the same southern, jangly indie pop that’s the musical equivalent to a humid southern night.  The bulk of the original line-up remains intact, including frontman Chris Lopez - whose distinctive vocals have always defined the sound of the Rock*A*Teens.  He manages to somehow sound angry, intoxicated, and hurt all at the same time when he sings, no small feat.  I think my change of opinion with this act is more on my maturing tastes than anything the band has or has not done.  There is no finer moment on this album than the anthemic “Go Tell Everybody,” a song begging to be sung along to after the first listen even if all you know is the chorus, and an easy choice as one of the best tracks of the year.  The rest of "Sixth House" is pretty swell as well, and certainly worth a listen even if you were never a fan the first time around.    

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