Sure, you may say all pop punk sounds the same, and I'll agree with you. But some bands hit the punk rock sweet spot, and Teenage Bottlerocket is one of those bands.
When it comes to Ramones-style punk, too much experimentation can ruin the flavor of the bubblegum. The important elements are simple, timeless and all-powerful. I'm looking for catchy tunes, sweet harmonies, fuzzy power chords, dramatic pauses, triumphant pick slides, cleanly tuneful solos and that sexy rhythmic chuckle of oh, oh, oh. Teenage Bottlerocket's melodies are super catchy, their playing is skilled and spotless, and the lyrics strike a perfect balance between cleverness and predictability. Ray Carlisle and Kody Templeman harmonize with unstrained, youthful voices and just a touch of snottiness.
The band's fourth album, They Came From the Shadows, provides enough melodic variety to keep me hooked while never straying a step outside of the genre. The best songs are classic pop-punk crooners like "Without You," a song I'll definitely be singing alone in my car, and "Todayo," with its irresistible refrains of "Todayo" and "Tomorrow, whoa-oh-oh." It's not complicated. It's youth, rock and rebellion, with no song longer than three and a half minutes. What's not to like?
Teenage Bottlerocket plays the Palace Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 9 PM with Cobra Skulls, Candyland Liberation Front and 10MT40s. $8.