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Articles Home » 2000 Articles » Teen Machine - 2000 After School Special
Teen Machine - 2000 After School Special

Cody Jarrett - lead vocals, guitar
El Diablo - lead guitar, vocals
The Commander - bass, vocals
Screenz - drums
Mandy - lead vocal 'Hot Mom', backing vocals
Angel - lead vocal 'Schools Over', background vocals
Elis - background vocals, tambourine

If you are in any doubt about what to expect on 'After School Special', the debut album from Popsquad Records' hopefuls Teen Machine, just give a cursory glance to the garish and wonderfully kitsch CD artwork. And if you're still not sure, the line 'We love your pretty face/but you can check your brain at the door' (from track 4 'Sugarland') just about tells you all you need to know. Yes folks, if it's hard hitting socio-political content or intelligent, adult related themes you want then this probably isn't the CD for you. However, if you are desperate for an album that recalls the heady days of Sweet, T-Rex, Abba (and probably every other glam or teen pop band in the history of recorded music), then welcome to the party. Looking like a bunch of fashion victims who have been thrown out of a 1970's fancy dress party for being too outrageous, Teen Machine are so bright and in your face even Stevie Wonder's gonna need shades. And while the assorted colours of their pink, brown and purple outfits combined is enough to give you a headache, the music is quite the opposite. A brash mix of styles it may be, but it's enjoyable all the same.

The Songs
Opening with one of the strongest cuts on the album, 'Bitchin' Camaro' Teen Machine get out of the blocks quite spectacularly with some ripping power chords from the mysteriously named El Diablo and impressive vocals from lead singer Cody Jarrett. The requisite female backing vocals from Mandy, Elis and Angel add that extra something to the song and by the time the equally infectious 'I'm Gonna Steal Your Girlfriend' comes along, it's clear Teen Machine are stuck in a 70's timewarp and quite happy about it. The songs address such important issues for 70's retro kids of this decade as school blues, popstars, attractive mums and even spacewomen. The point is that all this silliness could be dismissed were it not for the fact the band don't just have an outlandishly good image, they have the songs to go with it. 'Sissies', 'Training Wheels' and the cover of the Ohio Player's 'Yummy Yummy Yummy' may overstep the bubblegum mark a bit too far, but there's still plenty of tunes on here that have the right mix of melody and tongue-in-cheek humour. Evoking the power-pop sound of genre legends Candy, 'Hot Mom' is just one example and proves Mandy is no slouch on lead vocals either. The aforementioned 'Sugarland' and closing track 'Schools Over' are two songs Pretty Boy Floyd should have recorded, 'Demolition Girl' brings back more than a few memories of The Sweet and 'Popstars' is a welcome change of pace. However the triumph of the Teen Machine concept comes with their fantastic cover of Abba's 'Does Your Mother Know?' which gives a new take on such a well-worn classic with ease.

In Summary
Fans of the excellent Supremium will note Bruce Witkin's involvement as producer and alongside his own band, he is building a small but impressive roster of quality pop/rock acts. Even though the majority of today's Britney Spears or N-Sync kids may not get it, Teen Machine gives new meaning to the term 'Teen pop' and manages to pull it off successfully. But worry about that later, for now, grab another glass of punch, don your most ridiculous outfit and turn 'After School Special' up louder.

URL: www.teenmachine.net

Track Listing:
01 Bitchin' Camaro
02 I'm Gonna Steal Your Girlfriend
03 Training Wheels
04 Sugarland
05 Pop Stars
06 Hot Mom
07 Demolition Girl
08 Sissies
09 Does Your Mother Know?
10 The Ballad of Cosmica the Space Girl
11 Yummy Yummy Yummy
12 School's Over

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