Home Read Albums Of The Week: Amoeba Teen | Amoeba Teen

Albums Of The Week: Amoeba Teen | Amoeba Teen

Power-pop, new wave, glam & more turn up the U.K. outfit's familiar retro sound.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The self-titled album from Stourbridge, England’s Amoeba Teen is the followup to their acclaimed 2019 release Medium Wave. It features 10 fresh new tracks including the single New Material World and January, each bristling with energy and discovery as the band charts new territory with all their keen Britpop instincts on full display.

The band — singer/guitarists Mark Britton and Mike Turner, drummer Carl Bayliss and bassist Simon Muttitt — provide some insight into what to expect on Amoeba Teen: “This album is the frst one where we’ve recorded live as a four-piece, capturing the energy of the band performance Amoeba Teen are famed for.” The album was produced by Sean Lloyd — whom the band cite as instrumental in developing the Amoeba Teen sound into new sonic territories — at Claptrap Studios in Stourbridge, and mastered by George Shilling (Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream).

“It was a deliberately self-titled album because it was a real band efort to capture the live performance and shape the subsequent arrangements and vocal harmonies,” the band explain. “It has been a labour of love over two disrupted years — trying to rehearse the songs and then being forced to wait due to COVID lockdowns.”

The intentional collision of the live sound and the diversity of the new material is a thrilling masterstroke, lending both immediacy and cohesion to the exploration of new textures. There’s a strong thread of gleeful glam-rock running through the album, from the lead track Mainstream (which counts among its memorable couplets “She likes it kinda kooky in the back of her Suzuki”) to the driving Barlight Crawl. It’s even evident on the swaggering instrumental passage that breaks up the melancholy of Putting The Kids Through College, and it rears up again in the closing King Of The Cut — a stomping tune tinged by the tones of Crazy Horse and Teenage Fanclub at their heaviest.

Elsewhere, Amoeba Teen’s always-deft way with power pop hooks manifests itself in the single New Material World – a new-wave infected hit-in-waiting that equally evokes The Cars and The Replacements — and Just Not That Into You which straddles the line between the sounds of Squeeze and Fountains Of Wayne at tops of their respective games. There’s a palpable joy in the way the band dive into fresh idioms while sounding exactly like themselves: the rootsy twang of January, the single that heralded the forthcoming album earlier this year, is as natural as it is new. Likewise the near-’50s balladry of A Good Reason Why and The Zombies-like shuffle Melody Told You fit Amoeba Teen like a second skin. Lead vocal duties are traded between Britton and Turner, both displaying melodic gifts and wry but touching wit that bring to mind the likes of Split Enz (on the jangly Monica Wake Up), Blur, Jellyfsh and even The Beach Boys in the sophisticated harmony passages adorning tunes across the record’s span.

“The album touches on the perennial classic pop themes of love and loss, exacerbated by the breakdown of Britton’s marriage,” they say. “Additionally, one of the tracks (that shall remain nameless) was written using artifcial intelligence — an experiment that was too intriguing not to try once. But ultimately we wanted to write a kick-ass album that people could turn their car stereos up and enjoy during those frst hints of summer. That is why bass player Simon Muttitt’s painted canvas cover uses bright splashes of colour to capture the fun mood of the festival season we all hope to enjoy together again soon.”

Sonically, melodically, lyrically, and thematically, Amoeba Teen’s self-titled album raises the band’s bar and is intended to be worth the wait fans have had to endure. The wait ends in April, and the record they’ve crafted will delight devotees and those newly discovering the band alike.”