Review: Jack Foley
A CAN proudly lay claim to being the first UK band to be produced
by Terry Date, whose renowned production skills have been called
upon by the likes of Soundgarden, Deftones and Pantera.
Sadly, his mercurial touch is found in short supply on Teen
Dance Ordinance, a mixed bag of an album that struggles to
do anything really different within the genre its rooted in.
Teen Dance Ordinance is A's fourth album and is designed
to showcase a broader sound, thereby contrasting the melodic pop-punk
firecracker style of previous tracks, Starbucks and Old
Folks, with a darker, more melancholic edge in new tracks
such as Second Coming and Wake Up.
It is on Second Coming that the production values of
Date kick in, lending the band an altogether grittier, stadium-filling
sound that clearly owes its inspiration to Pantera and co.
Indeed, much of Teen Dance Ordinance feels rooted in
American culture, with former single, Better Off Without Him,
reminiscent of the lighter pop-punk sound of Blink-182 or Sum
For this reason alone, it might be embraced by the skater boy
fraternity on both sides of the Atlantic, while offering glimpses
of a maturing sound for the band as a whole.
But too much of Teen Dance Ordinance feels like filler,
rather than killer.
Wake Up is a loud barrage of wailing guitars and wall
of sound big band moments, while Worst Thing That Can Happen
owes too much of its style to Soundgarden, with a touch of metal
Afterburner is, as its title suggests, a throwaway rock-out
that could have been churned out by any one of a number of bands
in the genre.
That said, there are some moments when the album shows signs
The incessantly catchy Black Hole is a lively, upbeat
little riot of a track, featuring one of the simpler guitar riffs,
and a sweeping chorus; while the sunshine vibe that accompanies
Hey feels like a much-needed breath of fresh air (and
should be served up as a summer single).
On the whole, though, A's Teen Dance Ordinance disappoints
more than it impresses and fails to realise the potential offered
by the presence of such an accomplished producer as Date.
Editor's note: Here's some useless trivia for
you; the title, Teen Dance Ordinance, is derived from
the draconian entertainment laws that governed Seattle and Washington
State's live music industry from 1985-2002.
The TDO dictated that if a gig allowed under-18s in, then only
people aged between 15 and 18 could attend - the only way someone
older could attend would be in the case that they were accompanying
someone under 18.
This law effectively stopped Seattle's teenagers attending gigs
in their own town, until it was superseded with the more flexible
All Ages Ordinance in 2002.