Since 2009, Jersey trio Brick Mower have been releasing no-filler records of punk-spirited guitar pop, embracing influences from all corners of 80s and 90s indie rock and pop punk spectrum. With Eric Truchan on guitar and vocals, Kit Gogan on bass, and Steve Gennarelli on drums, the band has released a string of records on various punk labels including their own Viking On Campus imprint. In 2012, their first album with Don Giovanni came out, My Hateable Face. Now they’re following that up with a second Don Giovanni album, Teenage Graceland – their most dynamic and expansive sounding record yet. “Our last record was fast song after fast song,” says Truchan. “This one is varied in style and approach, we varied the speed of songs and dynamics of songs … We spent more time on the arrangements … On our past albums it was all three of us playing all the time, but a few songs on here are more sparse with guitar playing and bass lines and song structure.” The band recorded the album themselves, with mixing help from Eric Bennett.
It’s an album about “the general sense of being cryptic, about boredom … a lot of suburban boredom,” says Truchan, whose relatable lyrics about indecision and self-criticism are filtered through layers of distorted pop punk guitars and punchy punk drums. “Maybe we should take our time and throw it all away,” he wonders on the earworm of a lead track “Georgia Glass.” “Maybe we should take our lives and throw them out the door.” Things slow down on “Sad Houses,” a stretched out, tempered moment of melodic distorted riffs. “I tried to change but the times won’t let me,” Truchan sings on “Mabel,” over spare but bouncy feedback-heavy bass lines. Elsewhere, the record speeds up for urgent, fast-moving, classic sounding rippers like “Never Said Easy” and “Punched Out.”
Like their previous albums, the songs are anthemic and lo-fi, teetering between hyper power pop, grungy indie rock, and straight-up pop punk. “You haven’t felt this in a while / It’s getting harder to carry that smile,” Truchan sings on the snappy closer, “All Our Things Are Here.” “Endeavors that fall on deaf ears / dumbing down yourself way past your years … Organize and ride bikes way too slow / drape more dead heroes off of your clothes.” The album also includes an updated re-recorded version of “Shitty Parade,” originally released two years ago on a split 7-inch with Black Wine. Don Giovanni Records.