ALBUM REVIEW: Teenage Joans - 'The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest'
ARTIST: Teenage Joans | ALBUM: The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest
Adelaide's Teenage Joans have always had an insatiable ability to breathe new life into catchy pop punk tropes.
A band who emerged when they were both themselves teenagers, Teenage Joans have never shied away from a good old-fashioned pop bop or an emo-hued anthem, with their sugar-and-spice craftsmanship seamlessly elevating their self-described "juice box pop punk" since forming back in 2018.
Over the years, the pair have become synonymous with the fresh new wave of Aussie movers and shakers in the thriving alternative scene, from taking out the crown for triple j's Unearthed High contest with their track Three Leaf Clover to touring with the likes of Foo Fighters, Amy Shark and delighting on multiple festival stages.
Even despite the pandemic years, the Teenage Joans star has never lost its lustre, with the duo finally arriving in 2023 at a long-awaited milestone: a debut full length album. Writing everything together and drawing on the five year journey that they have spent together, Teenage Joans have emerged with a multicoloured sonic tapestry; and The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest is one that reflects both creative and professional growth with compelling dexterity.
Opening with Hospital Bed, The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest kicks off swelling with AutoTune vocals and soft piano ambience before building into an effervescent chest-thumper, seamlessly leading into the bouncy anthem Honey (And Other Sweet Things). Oozing with shiny pop punk, swerving melodic beauty and blissful interplay between vocalist and guitarist Cahli Blakers and drummer/vocalist Tahlia Borg, Honey (And Other Sweet Things) strikes an upbeat slice through the ever-unfurling sonic and metaphorical candy apple that is The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest.
With choruses that will etch under your skin and demand a singalong with the windows firmly down (Superglue), clever candy-coated simplicity (Yoke), nostalgic maturity (You're Not The President), silken serenity (Sweet Things Rot) and razor-sharp ruminations (Ruby Doomsday), Teenage Joans capture a youthful spirit simultaneously with world-wearied experience. Equal parts vulnerable, reflective, dark and dazzlingly bright, Teenage Joans repeatedly capture varying bolts of sonic lighting in their bottle, with standouts like the pop-soaked Candy Apple, the subdued beauty of Money and the higher-octane charm of 5 Things I Can Taste consistently showcasing the pair's fastidious dedication to creating a space to celebrate and commiserate equally.
Ending on a note that captures the sharp duality on display throughout, The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest closes via Kaleidoscopes; a morose and intimate sigh that gleefully builds into a buoyant, guitar-driven climax, before ending with the same soft piano line witnessed all the way back at the start on Hospital Bed.
With Teenage Joans actively incorporating a darker sonic direction for their first-ever album, comparatively to their debut 2021 EP Taste Of Me, The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest ultimately flows with vivid growth, immersive charisma and a positive spin on the moments in life when things go wrong (or rotten). An album that perhaps many may not expect, a fact that undeniably also levels up the enjoyment factor tenfold, The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest is an irresistible and relatable triumph. With fistfuls of pop and punk fillings beneath a sweet and salient outer shell, The Rot That Grows Inside My Chest is Teenage Joans armed ready to take on the world.
TEENAGE JOANS' ALBUM THE ROT THAT GROWS INSIDE MY CHEST IS OUT FRIDAY 13 OCTOBER VIA DOMESTIC LA LA.
FOR MORE INFO, HEAD TO: www.teenagejoans.com.au
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BY TIANA SPETER