Review by Shannon Shumaker
While the pop-punk scene is definitely on the rise again with new bands emerging nearly every day, it can be difficult to find a band that stands apart from the pack and sounds different from everyone else. Chumped, however, definitely manages to do that with their new album, Teenage Retirement.
The first thing that stands out about Teenage Retirement is the gorgeous vocals in the chorus of the first track, “December Is The Longest Month.” The lyrics on this song are also relatable - the first word that comes to mind is human. On top of that, the sound that Chumped has found in “December Is The Longest Month” and Teenage Retirement as a whole is absolutely unique - while the female vocals are very soft and poppy, the overall energy of the album is high and upbeat, and the dirty, grungy guitar tone meshes perfectly.
Teenage Retirement is also a very versatile record. While “December Is The Longest Month” and “Hot 97 Summer Jam” are relatively mellow tracks, the fourth song on the album, “Novella Ella Ella Eh” is much more fast paced and punk sounding. The vocals on this track are hard-hitting and strong, which shows vocalist Anika Pyle’s own talent and versatility. “Novella Ella Ella Eh,” is a fairly short track, clocking in at only a minute and twenty-two seconds, but it doesn’t leave you feeling unfulfilled, and when it transitions into a slower track, “Anywhere But Here,” it’s impossible to ignore this band's immense talent. While the difference in the tracks is big and the transition is slightly rough, the versatility is amazing. Chumped can go from fast paced punk tracks into slower, almost emo sounding songs and still shine on both, and that says a lot about them as a band.
Other strong tracks on Teenage Retirement are the album’s third song, “Coffee” which features primarily male vocals and is a surprising change and nice addition to the album, “Penny,” which hosts some great vocal harmonies and “Name That Thing,” with some awesome gang vocals at the end of the song.“Something About Geography” has some of the strongest bass work on the album, which sets the song apart from the rest of the record because it’s slower, longer, and starts differently than any other tracks. The two final tracks on Teenage Retirement, “The Pains Of Being…” and “Old And Tired” are the perfect ending for the album, starting off slow and building until the end. Again, it really showcases Chumped’s ability to write catchy and versatile songs, all while staying true to their sound.
One of the only downsides on Teenage Retirement is that the album seems to go by almost too quickly. There are only four songs on the album that clock in at over three minutes long, and while that definitely sets them apart from many other bands, some songs left me wanting more. But then again, a good album should do that; make the listener want to hear more. While I thought the production on the album could have been better, the grungy sound also suits Chumped very well, and above that, the overall songwriting on the majority of the album is great. Teenage Retirement sounds different than any punk band in the scene right now with the indie-sounding female vocals, hard hitting choruses, grungy guitar and incredible energy. This is an album with a lot of heart, soul and immense talent, and it’s one that shouldn’t be missed.
Listen to "Novella Ella Ella Eh," "Name That Thing," or "December Is The Longest Month"