From the outstanding breakout ‘Tales From Wyoming’ to the sad passing of founder Brandon Carlisle, Teenage Bottlerocket have had some deep lows to go with the massive highs of the last few years.
‘Stealing the Covers’ is the group’s first since Brandon’s passing, born out of one of his ideas almost a decade ago. As such, it’s a fitting tribute, fun and infectious but steeped in nostalgia. Featuring 14 covers of friends’ bands, there’s not many acts that are household names, certainly in the UK. But – and to me this is the beauty of ‘Stealing the Covers’ – there’s plenty of bands on here that you’ll want to check out following the Bottlerocket makeover.
That said, ‘Stealing the Covers’ deviates little from Teenage Bottlerocket’s established sound, and every song sounds like it could have been culled from their back catalogue. Clearly, Teenage Bottlerocket know their sound and what their fanbase expects, and ‘Stealing the Covers’ delivers from the off.
‘The Way I Know’, originally by Canada’s Varsity Weirdos is a riot, as is Teenage Bottlerocket’s take on Hollywood Blondes’ ‘Back and Forth’, making for a strong opening. ‘Stealing the Covers’ deviates little after that – the songs are hooky as hell and the Bottlerocket’s interpretation is always colourful. There’s a handful of standout moments – ‘Don’t Go’ (originally by The Scutches) is a solid gold anthem, while ‘It Came From The Radio’, by The Blendours, is a prime slice of paranoid punk rock, inspired by schlocky b-movies but making a not-so-subtle dig at the media.
Ultimately, ‘Stealing the Covers’ sees Teenage Bottlerocket turn a throwaway idea and make something special from it. By avoiding any big names, it just adds to the charm of an album that is unexpectedly poignant, but which is also a huge amount of fun.
‘Stealing the Covers’ by Teenage Bottlerocket is out now on Fat Wreck Chords.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)