Adelaide’s own soaring rocket ship of talent, Teenage Joans, release their debut album The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest, an album of lyrical openness, musical sweetness and creative angst.
However what would a dude who was never a female teenager know about what the duo are presenting? Not a lot to be frank however the songs are so incredible, well crafted and descriptive that for thirteen tracks I almost feel the hurt, confusion, fun, high times and danger that one must go through. Which means if you are closer to that demographic, you are listening to your own thoughts and emotions wrapped up in a heart pounding album.
Lyrically, it’s impossible to not be engaged when during first track Hospital Bed, a short building song which starts with a lone piano, drops the lyric ‘I’ll hold on until you come back’.
Those outstanding lyrics are all throughout the album, like a cross between the greatest country lyrics and those geniuses that write in toilet cubicles – and I mean that as the greatest compliment – where you think ‘I wish I could write that!’
For instance in Honey (And Other Sweet Things) it’s ‘You’re heaven sent but look like death’ while in Tennis Skirt it’s ‘You don’t have to speak I already know you’re lying’ or the brilliant ‘it’s funny how it’s typical you would change, now there’s something so cynical about your name’ on moneymoneymoney which even I relate too.
Musically, the album is lush and colourful, every song is a catchy, upbeat and will be dance floor and live setting favourites. Cahli Bakers vocals are exactly what a rock singer should sound like, one minute perfect , the next the emotion cracking the voice, breathing pain into the song. Amazing.
Ruby Doomsday is hooked filled – another great line of ‘I’m holding onto nothing but at least I’m holding something’ – and Yoke bounces along that you find your feet joining in.
As the album progresses from the bands known pop punk sound you feel the emotions and therefore the sound expand.
Orchestration appears and solos arrive in Tennis Skirt and keyboards come to the fore during 5 Things I Can Taste, literally a delicious cherry flavoured song before perfection itself in Kaleidoscopes. A song that wouldn’t be out of place on 80’s MTV or 2023 TBS dancefloor as the emotion pours out and builds before finishing – and repeating the opening sequence of the album – with ‘I’ll hold on until you come back’ lyric and piano note.
This album is enjoyable in every way possible. Vocally, such passion and style. Musically it’s crisp, sharp and outstanding. Teenage Joan’s have delivered a descriptive , both musically and lyrically, storytelling masterpiece of a debut album.
Album Review By Iain McCallum