Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I’ve frequently held these guys up as a representative example of the cream of 1990s garage punk rock, but I’ll now admit that I’ve only done so on the basis of their excellent 45s, especially the raw power of their one-sided Rip Off disc “Out of Sight/Pushin' Me Around”. I’d never owned their one and only official full-length release until now. Do the raves still hold? A definite maybe. If any band could be said to personify a garage punk ASSAULT the way Black Flag personified a hardcore punk ASSAULT, that band would be TEENGENERATE. That’s absolutely something to be proud of – and there are numbers here that are just pure, unabashed, hook-filled fury, such as “Radio 55” and “Fake Fake Fake”. Yet it’s really too much to take in one sitting, even in a 35-minute serving doled out in two-minute portions. There’s too much repetition, too much painting by numbers, a few too many covers and a little too much self-conscious rawness for “Get Action” to be considered a real timeless classic. My litmus test: What will people say about it in thirty years? I suspect they won’t, not the way they’ll be cheering the GORIES ' first two records or SUPERCHARGER’s “Goes Way Out!”. Teengenerate are the best Japan’s had to offer in this crowded field by a mile, but I can’t in good conscience elevate them from the upper middle of the worldwide garage punk pack.