Yes, cover albums can be mind-numbingly cliché, usually little more than anything but a stopgap as the band works on new material. That being said, Teenage Bottlerocket have finally cracked the code, turning in an interesting album of covers.
On ‘Stealing The Covers,’ the Wyoming punk rock band have selected 14 songs by smaller bands they discovered over the course of the past 15 years spent touring. Groups like Varsity Weirdos and Onion Flavored Rings may be huge in their local scenes, but are hardly household names outside city limits.
‘Stealing The Covers’ works so well, in part, because Teenage Bottlerocket have a specific sound; it’s fast, fun, steady and easily recognizable, so even though these songs were penned by a dozen-plus other people, they all sound like they could have come from Teenage Bottlerocket (well, all but the new wave-ish “Robocop is a Halfbreed Sellout,” from Wyoming’s Sprocket Nova, which sounds like Devo through a punk rock filter.
Not all tracks are great, see “Robocop is a Halfbreed Sellout” or Artimus Maximus’ “Shit Fuck God Damn,” but many of the tracks here are, like the surprisingly catchy “No Hugging No Learning” (written by Seattle’s Head) and the goofy, but undeniably fun “Gay Parade” (by Georgia-based The Gullibles).
‘Stealing The Covers’ may not be the proper studio follow up many were hoping for after the bands stellar ‘Tales From Wyoming,’ but it’s still a Teenage Bottlerocket album and that’s never a bad thing.