Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Album Review: Not Enough by Teddy Westside (by Emma Prew)

Teddy Westside are an emo-driven punk band from Atlanta, Georgia formed by vocalists and guitarists Connor Smith and Dominick Maduri alongside a revolving cast of other musicians. On the 1st of February they released a four track EP titled Not Enough. The artwork and featured song grabbed my attention on Bandcamp and beckoned me to review it. So I did.

The EP opens with Chaplin and some melodic guitars that instantly have me hooked. The guitar melodies and deep bassline bring to mind The Menzingers and the song Good Things, which is never a bad thing in my book. There are also distinct elements of Spanish Love Songs – whom I also adore – but when the vocals start, they are more pop punk and less, err, whiney (sorry SLS, I mean whiney in a good way). Comparisons aside, this is pure heartfelt and honest emo punk. It’s super catchy and will have you nodding along, believing that this song is written about you – again, I mean that in a good way! – in no time at all. The chorus is top stuff – ‘And now I'm drinking by myself, You're probably out watching the game with somebody else, I’m feeling sorry for myself, And you got no one else to blame cause you're by yourself.’  My only one niggling fault with this song is that towards the end there are some shouts of ‘hey, hey, hey!’ and it makes me think of stadium ‘pop punk’. Opening with some huge sounding guitars and drums, the second song on Not Enough is called No Good. Teddy Westside sure are good at their opening guitar riffs! This song takes a bit of a slower pace than the first but what it doesn’t deliver in speed it makes up for with an element of anger. The vocals are also a little more rough around the edges and shouty. This does an excellent job of conveying emotion, as well as contrasting nicely with the sweet guitar parts. No Good is about running away from your problems, particularly if your problems are people. The chorus is just begging to be shouted along to – ‘This makes me, You make me, I make me, Want to run away.’  – in fact, I think that a second vocalist does just that. So now we just need the rest of the barroom to sing along. 

The sense of anger is retained for Santa Rosa, the third song of the EP. This time there is no melodic guitar introduction as the song kicks off with vocals immediately. The combination of shouty vocals and simple but boldy strummed chords has me enthusiastically nodding my head along right away – I guess what I’m saying is if I was the head-banging sort… The two different vocalists are more apparent in Santa Rosa, particularly when we get to the chorus – the lead vocal sings ‘Take me back’ and the backing vocals sing a different part. Those backing vocals are quieter however and I can’t quite make out what is being sung but, no worries, because it sounds great anyway. At only just over a minute long, we soon find ourselves at the end of the EP. The fourth and final song is the title track, Not Enough. This track sees the Teddy Westside sound get stripped back as it opens gently with just an acoustic guitar. When the vocals come in and the lines ‘You spoke to me for like the second time this week, And my ankles and my knees are getting weak.’ are sung I know that this is going to be a super sad song. Not Enough has a melancholic sense of longing to it as the lyrics tell the tale of an unrequited love and how the person at the heart of the story was never able to give enough – or receive it. This is certainly an emotional song but what really helps to emphasise this is when, after 2 and a half minutes, the full band sound returns. The song could have quite easily stayed acoustic but an increased volume ending is perfect.

Check out Teddy Westside if you’re a fan of The Menzingers or Spanish Love Songs and are partial to a sad song every now and again. You can pay what you want for Not Enough over on their Bandcamp page (or download it for free). And give the band a like on Facebook while you’re at it.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

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