Teenage Wrist
Earth Is A Black Hole


3.5
great

Review

by Jesper L. CONTRIBUTOR (62 Reviews)
February 12th, 2021 | 73 replies


Release Date: 02/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: *Discman not included

If earth really were a black hole, Teenage Wrist taking any notice of this seems doubtful. The band are too persistently preoccupied with drowning themselves and anyone willing to listen in pure 90s nostalgia, and, admittedly, it’s pretty wonderful. Vocalist Kamtin Mohager may have quit and started yet another new project, but Teenage Wrist are powering on as a two-piece and have filled the Chain Gang shaped hole with even more grungy goodness. A little less Hum and a little more Morissette, the duo mostly manage to make up for their freshly inherent shortcomings by delivering a batch of solid, sentimental bangers.

Let’s get Earth Is A Black Hole’s first major issue out of the way: guitarist Marshall Gallagher taking on lead vocal duties may not have been the best move. While he is perfectly able to carry a melody, his voice lacks personality and fails to add to the fuzzy atmospheres crafted by the instrumentals. This is painfully noticeable on the weaker tracks: ‘Silverspoon’, for example, falls flat on its face as it fails to produce a single memorable moment. Similarly, the title track delivers a pleasantly airy riff, but holds itself back with awkward ‘ah-ah’s introducing the chorus. Thankfully, such issues cannot be found in every corner of the record. Moreover, Teenage Wrist primarily use the opportunity to flex their muscles and showcase their improved songwriting game. As such, it’s a slightly conflicting listen as most of these songs are undeniably good. Yet, it isn’t hard to imagine how much better they could have been with a more suitable vocalist; a feeling that persists all throughout.

Teenage Wrist’s growth as songwriters is best exemplified on the songs that stick closest to the reverb-drenched goodness they are known for: ‘Yellowbelly’ is an excellent ballad that contrasts bright, bouncy guitars with lyrics of death and decay. Like most of Earth Is A Black Hole, the song displays more clarity than the band’s previous work, while remaining firmly grounded in a hazy ambience. Similarly, ‘High Again’ incorporates a surprisingly effective drumbeat before erupting into a monumental chorus, continuing the tradition of Teenage Wrist’s best songs being about weed and solitude. While it may be nothing new or explicitly inventive, the emotion pouring from simple lines such as “Can we just lie in bed and watch the sun come out?” is tangible, genuine and, subsequently, irresistible.

When the band are on top of their game, the songs feel effortless; the atmosphere appears to compose itself. As such, ‘Wasting Time’ manages to be a highlight against all odds of its pop punk nature. Naturally, the track remains drowned in sparkly, echoing riffs and bouncy drums, solidifying the burning question of what a young Jim Adkins would have created had he discovered a Big Muff Pi. Oddly enough, ‘Wear U Down’ attempts to go down a similar path, yet ends up stumbling over its awkward chorus repeating the song title ad nauseam. It’s the disappointing line Earth Is A Black Hole treads: the good only merely outweighs the mediocre. Almost every excellent song is contrasted by one that ends up feeling rather empty and tired, reminding listeners of what could have been.

Thankfully, Teenage Wrist still provide more than enough reverb and nostalgia to get lost in, especially for those in need of a 90s fix. The absence of one of nugaze’s most unique voices is noticeable, but the band must be commended for managing to put forth a batch of quality songs. If anything, Earth Is A Black Hole functions as proof that there is a future for the duo without having to leave their comfort zone of denim jackets and Tamagotchis. With some more time spent on ensuring that every song is up to the standard of ‘Yellowbelly’ and ‘High Again’ on future projects, the band are capable of crafting something truly special. Hell, if they’re lucky, someone might even say that “they would’ve been huge in the 90s!”.



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user ratings (94)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


2789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is maybe like a 3.2 but i'm feeling like a generous simp so have a 3.5

https://teenagewrist.bandcamp.com/album/earth-is-a-black-hole

Digging: half/cut - Salt an Atlas

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


7449 Comments


"A little less Hum and a little more Morissette" sounds nice

Good rev (as always), imma listen to the few songs you rec'd

Digging: Andy Stott - Never the Right Time

cold
February 12th 2021


6008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Bring back Kamtinnnnnnnnn

Digging: Citizen - Life In Your Glass World

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


2789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ty dedex < 3

cold! check the FRITZ record that came out today, i'm only like 3 songs in but already loving it lol

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


7449 Comments


‘Yellowbelly’ and ‘High Again’ are real good!

cold
February 12th 2021


6008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

you somehow r e a l l y know me, Jesper. I am instantly loving that FRITZ album.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


2789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice dedex! might be worth checking the full thing then haha

hell yeah cold, that opening track is unreal

cold
February 12th 2021


6008 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Now I'm upset that it would cost an arm and a leg to snag the record from Australia. Ughhhhhh, now I'm more upset because I just remembered I never got the Fazerdaze record for the same reason and then I forgot andddddddd now it's sold out

Beardog
February 12th 2021


3988 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

High Again and Wasting Time are fun

anarchistfish
February 12th 2021


28638 Comments


no Kamtin no boogie

Digging: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!

TME
February 12th 2021


1 Comments


Kamtin moved on and created Heavenward which sounds a lot more like Teenage Wrist than what it is now.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


2789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

just do it cold!! i found morningside somewhere in a shady german record shop a few years back, best find ever lol

heavenward is pretty cool yes

CaliggyJack
February 12th 2021


5912 Comments


The band name is ripe for so many bad jokes but I had to leave em on the cutting room floor tbqh

SitarHero
February 12th 2021


12816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review Jesp! I'm looking forward to checking this. I honestly loved the singles despite complaints about the lack of personality.

kingstring23
February 12th 2021


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Silverspoon is literally my favorite song from last year wtf

Slinkinlip
February 12th 2021


32 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would. Earth is a Black Hole was really catchy and Stella had that epic closer feel akin to Anberlin.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
February 12th 2021


2789 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cheers sitar!

enjoyed this way more than I thought I would [2], was prepared to 2 this after those first two singles (sorry @ silverspoon lovers lol)

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 12th 2021


9095 Comments


Really liked the album singles, looking forward to listen to the whole album.

Digging: The Dead Daisies - Holy Ground

JayEnder
February 12th 2021


9567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

High Again is so good



Great review as always Jesp, but Silverspoon is a banger :]

kevbogz
February 12th 2021


2932 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

p much agree on the vocals jespy. they aren't bad just horribly bland



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