Tweens – s/t

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Rating: ★★★ · ·

The official arrival of Tweens comes with a lot of fanfare, namely the endorsement of Kim Deal (Breeders/Pixies).  But, can a young band live up to those lofty expectations? Can they fill your ears with tunes that are as undeniably memorable as “Cannonball?”  On their self-titled effort, there’s room for improvement, but overall, you get the feeling that the young three-piece are on to something.

When Tweens kick things off, you can tell that they’re intent upon bringing raucous noise with just a little bit of brattiness to the table.  Bridget Battle immediately takes center stage on “Bored With This City,” belting out vocals, with the occasional hiccup to add a wee bit of sugar to the track.  And, while that song pushes forth rather quickly, “McMicken,” the following tune, is just as fast, although there’s that effortless layer of cool layered in, making the tune worthy of repeated listens.

Still, with the opening tunes on Tweens winning you over, there has to be a breather, which is why the vocal display from Battle on the next track “Be Mean” offers up a slightly different look into the band’s sound.  She discards that bratty sexpot attitude, taking on a stronger role as a powerful front woman.  This is the first track where I really felt like her vocals stood out from the meat of the song.  It’s an approach I personally feel she should take more often, as it makes that song successful, much like it does with”Don’t WaitUp” and  “Forever.”  The latter tune is possibly the standout song on the record.  Musically, the band seems to have calmed down a bit, allowing for BB to win over fans with her ability to control her pipes at various pitches.  I suppose this song appeals to me because it offers that different glimpse inside of the band, as other songs seem to bleed into each other too often.

After spending several days with the album, I can definitely see where the excitement comes from.  The songs are filled with hooks, and it’s hard to deny Bridget’s dynamism as a front woman.  That being said, there are a few songs that trip over each other, and only the smart choice of slipping in some slower tunes saves the record from being a one-note venture. They salvage that, however, with the inclusion of things like “Stoner” and “Forever,” making it clear that their future might hold more than meets the eye.  Tweens are rising stars in the music community, but only time will tell just how far that star can go.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/03-Be-Mean.mp3]

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