Emerging Cincinnati trio Tweens release their debut self-titled LP on April 8th as they look set to climb the Ohio musical ladder.
Fronted by the sometimes manic Bridget Battle, the group’s sound is one of punk-fused energetic pop. It’s blindingly clear that it’s Battle who wears the trousers over her two male band mates, the girl powered energy radiating from the more anthemic tracks is a high tempo testimony to this.
Although the band only formed in 2012, they have made significant waves, steadily growing an army of admirers. Fans include The Breeders, who were so impressed they invited Tweens to open for them during their recent US tour. Additionally, the Ohio trio have also toured with Black Lips.
Tweens’ whirlwind evolution has led them to the point of make or break as they seek to emerge from a crowded field, but it looks as though it’s a case of challenge accepted from this confident young outfit.
They have already cemented their own brand. The sound is definitely punky and precocious, even bratty. But just as importantly, it’s sincere and brutally genuine. From the onset, Tweens is melodic yet driven whilst remaining exceedingly catchy.
Progressing from the Live at the Mohawk EP, Tweens is a collection of new, garage-influenced tracks, and whilst the band may be young, they are far from naive, sighting such predecessors as The Donnas as a source of influence.
Be Mean is a biting and edgy anthem. It’s loud and chaotic. The video illustrates the band’s youth through its presentation. It’s an almost entirely self-shot homemade compilation of grainy, playful clips. The look and sound carries an ’80s vibe, but is fresh enough so as not to evoke cries of ‘throwback’.
The album flows through the peaks and troughs of teenage frustration, often confused by younger folk with rebellion. This, for me, is a key ingredient. It means that most will relate with its message, it becomes realistic.
Bored in this City scrapes along with Battle lamenting her frustration and boredom of, presumably Cincinnati. With Girlfriend, Battle describes her tribulations as she grows increasingly fed up with a clingy and over-persistent boyfriend, before using Hardcore Boy to outline the kind of guy she does want.
I’ve seen Tweens described as being plucked from the mid ’90s. I’d go slightly earlier than that and point at the late ’80s. And that’s fine, it suits the group down to the ground, perhaps it’s exactly what they were aiming for. Either way, as far as debut albums go, especially from a genre with such blurred boundaries, it hits the nail on the head.
A word of caution, however. Tweens does beg the question of where to from here? What happens in terms of writing once the current US tour concludes? This record is a wonderful announcement. It’s a powerful ‘here we are’ from a talented trio. But the acid test is still to come for this emerging and exciting new band.
But fear not. If I were to be so bold as to offer a prediction, I would tell you that this flamboyant prospect will thrive on the pressure of expectation. Time will tell if I’m right or wrong, but there is one certainty. Once you’ve heard Tweens in its entirety, you will want to hear more. I certainly do. The only problem is I’m not quite sure why! Perhaps it’s curiosity, perhaps the album is a grower as perhaps are the band.
But as Tweens ride on the crest of a wave showcasing their energetic style to their ever-growing army of admirers, I simply remind myself that so many people can’t be wrong… Can they?