No longer rubbing red raw emotional wounds for our entertainment, ‘Teenage Wristband’ finds Greg Dulli’s troubadours chasing down the eternal American dream of fast cars and loose women with a bottle of bourbon and the customary swagger.
Having always been oddly catholic in both sin/guilt and musical senses, here he plays Adam to an Eve leading him astray – “She said, you wanna go for a ride? I’ve got 16 hours to burn and I’m gonna stay up all night”. It’s a supercharged showdown versus Springsteen to pen the ultimate top-down highway anthem. Incongruously, he false starts with an cascading piano intro straight from the Meatloaf school of bombastic drivetime rock, but pulls it back as the aching e-bow feedback builds, then takes over on the last chorus with an on/off key leering vocal. Got to play chicken though, and call it a dead heat. Don’t wanna mess with The Boss.
The FM-friendly sounds continue on ‘The Killer’, which is the kind of towering lust laden ballad Aerosmith trademarked before rehab turned them to mush - Greg howling “I want you to burn me til I feel it” at yet another temptress. Still looking for redemption in all the wrong places then.
The meticulous, cinematographic detail of Dulli’s albums always makes the singles sound like a small part of a big picture. And this is no different, plus the inclusion of only one non-album track - ‘So Tight’ - makes this one for the diehards only. To really get what’s goin’ on here you’ll need ‘Blackberry Belle’. Go on, we all need a bit of rock n’roll escapism sometimes.
8Drew Broomhall's Score