The members of Teenage Wrist don’t give a shit what year it is - their music exists in a time when guitar rock was a guaranteed way to get played on radio and television.
The Los Angeles trio—guitarist/vocalist Marshall Gallagher, bassist/vocalist Kamtin Mohager, and drummer Anthony Salazar—play dreamy alt-rock that surely would’ve been guaranteed rotation on 120 Minutes circa 1993.
The band’s excellent debut LP, Chrome Neon Jesus, follows their promising 2015 EP, Dazed, by improving upon it in every aspect: the melodies are stronger, the songwriting is more focused, and the performances are sharper. Even the production, courtesy of Carlos de la Garza, shines.
Meanwhile, Gallagher and Mohager trade Dazed’s inward apprehension towards existing for outward unease towards existence. Anxiety colors their mullings over life online, filling a void with drugs, and phony relationships, complete with their cutting and compact observations: “Strangers and lovers / The sugar-filled assurance in between the lies”. Oh, and it’s all made to be worthy of cathartic sing-alongs.
There’s something truly refreshing about a band that unabashedly rocks out with a big rhythm section and bigger guitars in 2018. Given the nostalgia for the ‘90s lately, it seems Teenage Wrist has great timing. Yet don’t mistake Chrome Neon Jesus’ throwback sensibility for cynical attention-grabbing, because an album this strong deserves to be taken seriously.