Release Date: 03.18.08
"Everyone knows music achieved perfection in 1974," explains Homer Simpson. "It's a scientific fact." I wager that the Teenage Prayers not only agree with Mr. Simpson, but also are hard at work developing the time machine capable of transporting an entire band back and forth to that point in our history. Until that day, they--and we--will have to live in the present and enjoy Everyone Thinks You're The Best, the second album from a band poised to resurrect and revitalize the past.
The tracks are structured like a delicate trap to lure in suspicious indie-fans one song at a time. If the Prayers came right out wearing leaopard-print shirts and tight pants, we might not take them seriously. Everyone opens with "I Like It" and a lead vocal performance that sounds similar enough to Robert Smith for 24-year-olds to be okay with it, but then the fluctuations into Freddie Mercury territory betray the album's overall agenda. Strong production and imagination keeps things popping throughout. Where some bands fall in love with their riffs and can use that love to make us love it, others love their bits for a while, then switch it up before they approach tiring of them. The Teenage Prayers are one of those bands. From song to song, line-to-line, anything could change at any moment all staying under that umbrella of "rock." What's wonderful is that these transitions are unexpected yet never jarring. A song like "Heiroglyph" starts like a reggae song with Billy Preston keys, then leaps beyond that to the next plateau.
"Good Voodoo" gives a dash of kick-ass to the middle section before we get the homestretch. By the time we get to "Dreams of the South," we've left the year 2008 and have set foot steadily in "Sticky Fingers" world. The groove, the swagger, and the cinematic scope... it's like the greatest Stones song the Black Crowes never recorded. (I have to write semi-jerky "clever" stuff like that so I might be perceived as entertaining, but I mean it as a sincere compliment. Please do not mistake my lame attempts to appear cool to the indie-music readers of the world as anything less than a solid thumbs up.) My only qualm with the album is the placement of the final song, "Spirit in a Can." It's one of those songs that fit our current time's trend of including a song so stylistically different from the preceding album that it comes off as a joke. But the track's good, and I feel if they'd placed it earlier in the album--especially considering the band's flexible sound--it would cease to be a "jump in sound" song and become part of the Prayers' overall sound. It's not a make-or-break choice, just one that might not have happened 20 years ago.