Teenage Bad Girl are back with a new album on Citizen Records. ‘Backwash,’ tries to marry big room electro sounds with TBG’s complex set of influences; you can expect to hear the savage synths of electro, the broken rhythms of underground hip-hop and the efficiency of a half French Touch half Detroit old school techno & acid, as well as a load of other odds and sods. When it comes together, which it does most of the time – it’s hard not to be impressed with their latest album.
The album starts with ‘Fight Night’ a jittering electro banger which samples everything from rap to funk and everything in between, bit like Prodigy in a metal asylum – it just lacks a decent melody or groove. It’s more a technical exercise where they throw everything at you in one go just to see what sticks.
What sticks is the basis of the second song and the one the stands out from the start ‘Kick Up With You’ a rock electro homage – with a proper rock structure. They keep just about enough French electro to make a sweet rapturous song – sure to be a crowd favourite.
The ‘Wave’ continues the intense samples, effects and no-hold-barred approach that ‘fight night’ takes – for us the kick doesn’t hit quite right or nearly enough. Sure enough the next track goes for over-the-top rock electro medley with a Green day punk vocal – it’s like Justice, but if they made rock.
Some much needed melancholy is added in ‘Heart Zero Beating’ the track is an uncompromising mish-mash of repeating synths – it’s weird but there’s an honest charm and beauty to it. Until it hits repeat mode at the end.
They mix up the style some more with a French rap electro track in the shape of ‘X Girl’ probably what Uffie should have sounded like – but didn’t – it has a clever funk-pop edge to it.
Backwash shows Teenage Bad Girl are incredibly diverse when it comes to styles that they command – the CD hits loads of styles and flavours along the journey. When it works it is a rewarding listen with sonic depth, precision and knowledge of multiple genres which is necessary to try and pull off something so adventurous.
The CD really starts to come together more and more as you listen to the funk synths and driving disco of ‘Hold Me Tight’, the effortless smooth and distorted chord of ‘Fast Blood Delivery’ show a new side of TBG – any misgivings towards the slightly over-the-top start melts away when you start hitting the more composed middle half.
The whole thing goes a bit mental again for the finale with ‘Boogie Toy’ throwing out any chance of melody with an all-effects head fuck – not a particularly memorable track – the kick restore some sanity and stability. More acid undertones are shown of in the Moroder-esque ‘Backwash’ a proper homage to the infamous scarface soundtrack.
It finishes with a final hip hop electro number ‘Jumping Judas’ – the backing synths and song reminded us of a Tron Legacy track – the vocal is surprisingly not terrible and does add a certain something.
Backwash is a good album but seems to lack a few stellar tracks for it to be called a classic just yet – it just suffers from being a bit all over the place. But TBG do succeed in bringing all their influences together under one broad church of French alternative electro. It doesn’t happen enough for us, but we’re sure plently of you will find lots to love as when it does work – it’s a wild ride of electro and excess.
HBF Rating 7/10
Digital release : 2011 June, 6th Physical release : 2011 June, 13th
Don’t take our word for it listen to the whole thing in full and judge for yourself.