Teenage Bottlerocket - So Dumb [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Teenage Bottlerocket

So Dumb [EP] (2023)

pirates press records

Usually, a band of Teenage Bottlerocket's status takes multiple years between full length releases to present new material. But their new eP follows their last release by less than two years. TBR are indeed road warriors, spending close to 13 months out of the year touring. This EP contains four songs recorded at the Blasting Room in November 2020 during the “Sick Sesh” recording sessions. This also mark’s the band’s first release for the Pirates Press Records label. No official statement has been made regarding any change in their relationship with Fat Wreck Chords.

The title track “So Dumb” kicks of this short but sweet four song EP. This track could easily have appeared on any TBR full length. Bassist Miguel Chen wrote this song about his frustration over people not working together during the trying times recently experienced over the past few years. Reading the lyrics, Kody sings about how as humans we don’t know as much as we think we do. Musically, this follows the typical punk rock verse-chorus-verse-bridge pattern. The bridge boasts the signature TBR guitar lead for which the band has become synonymous. Teenage Bottlerocket break some new ground musically with “It Wasn’t Enough” that follows. This Ray Rocket fronted track begins with a rockabilly steady tempo before the full band kicks in. This track is appropriately placed as an EP track as it would have been out of place on the “Sick Sesh” full length. I am glad it is released for us to hear their ability to write outside of their core sound. “So Stoked” commences the B-Side of the EP. The signature and comfortable TBR guitar lead is present in the intro. Kody Templeman showcases his multi-range vocal talents on this number. Where “So Dumb” focused on today’s issues, “So Stoked” lyrically takes a more positive spin. Kody sings of being happy with being happy and radiating positivity. “Heart Attack” for me is the standout sleeper track of the EP. The song commences with a 1950s doo-wop tempo and feel. Kody assimilates having a heart attack with all the obstacles you face and wishing them away. Musically, the song progresses from the intro into the steady and powerful downstrokes which few band do better than TBR.

“So Dumb/So Stoked” serves as a perfect appetizer until the band returns to the studio for the follow up to “Sick Sesh.” This release to me almost feels like two singles and two B-Sides rolled into one. Existing TBR fans will be pleased with new material as well as in hearing outlier tracks such as “It Wasn’t Enough” and “Heart Attack.” New fans of the band will get a taste of the classic TBR sound as well with “So Dumb” and “So Stoked.” Chances are Teenage Bottlerocket will be coming to your town sometime soon, given their rigorous touring schedule. Check them out if you get the chance as they always deliver in a live setting as well as on record.