May 10, 2022
By Andy Von Pip
Fresh off an opening slot with Wolf Alice in their native Australia, Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers unleash their ferocious debut EP, Pretty Good For a Girl Band.
Formed whilst still at high school in their hometown of Canberra—the band comprising of Anna Ryan and Scarlett McKahey, both on guitar/vocals, as well as Jaida Stephenson on bass and Neve van Boxsel on drums—began to gain a reputation on the local scene for their incendiary attitude packed live shows. And that fire and effortless melodic bent is apparent throughout Pretty Good For a Girl Band, the title inspired by backhanded compliments and put-downs reflecting the internalised misogyny that pervades the music industry and wider society.
It kicks off with the blistering melodic punk grunge crunch of “AHHHH!”—a song to add to your “phonetic exclamations and interjections” playlist (see also “Oh” by The Linda Lindas and “MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA” by illuminati hotties). The four-piece prove themselves to be adept and combing acerbic lyrics with prodigious melodies. “Up to Summit” is full of restless, edgy energy whilst the anthemic “Miss Your Birthday” was co-written with Alex Lahey and was partly inspired by being separated from bandmates during the lockdown. It was a collaboration guitarist Scarlett McKahey describes “as a dream” and is all about “the internal battle of wanting to be back at your mum’s cosy house without abandoning your new ‘grown up’ life. Sometimes going home is the only option!”
Previous single “Girls Sport” was written in honor of a male dentist who suggested bassist Jaida Stephenson should stick to “girl sports” after knocking her teeth out skating. It’s a sonic and lyrical “fuck you” to the patriarchy and the regressive attitudes it seeks to protect. Vocalist and guitarist Alex Ryan said of the song, “It’s also a broader educational moment because it’s not only men that have said ‘you’re pretty good for a girl band’ to me. I’ve had so many girls come up to me and say that or ‘I love this whole girl band thing you’ve got going on.’ I’d like to think this EP can show anyone, ‘Hey, if you’ve maybe ever said this or thought this, then we can all change together.’”
Closing with the empowering reflective self-aware “Bull Dragon,” Pretty Good For a Girl Band is a spiky and impressive debut EP that fizzes with modern riot grrrl energy and swaggering melodies and encourages you to push back against reductive societal expectations and follow your own path. (www.teenjesusandthejeanteasers.net)
Author rating: 8/10
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