I’m in a new land without internet. It’s a frightening reality where my dependence on technology has a big fluorescent light shined on it every time I open my laptop and never make it to Google. So, until my apartment has internet, and I’m swallowed up once again inducted by the tech-culture I didn’t realize (until recently) that I was a member of, I decided to review whatever I have laying around. Physical copies. Shit with textures and grooves and other sensory minutiae that I can masturbate feverishly to in a daze of superiority.
The fine folks at No Idea Records happened to send me a couple of EP’s recently, one of them being the split from Big Eyes and Post Teens. The concept of the split in general is a funny one, while there are indeed some classic ones (Hot Water Music has produced a handful of them), for the most part the split is a venue for discovery rather than a cohesive work of art. Which feels shitty to say, but in practice is true enough to make me depressed. While I would love to see a world where splits feel like a complete work of art, where both band’s contributions play off each other to make something fun, short, and whole, the majority of them feel like throwaway releases. There’s a lot of cool packed into the concept of shorter form mediums, I’d just like to see band’s reach further for their potential.
That being said, Big Eyes and Post Teens actually are a pretty cohesive duo. They both play fuzzy punk rock with varying amounts of garage and pop influences and both of them I had never heard before this. They occupy a similar realm but their respective variations on the theme are interesting and pair favorably. If my criteria for a good split is: feeling like a cohesive whole, rather a compilation and; introducing the listener to bands they might not have heard otherwise; then yes, this is a good split.
The sides aren’t equal though. Big Eyes’ half is probably the stronger– dominating with its 60’s pop sounding fuzz-punk. There’s an undertone of youth here. It sounds like music you could hear playing on a beach filled with kids that party a lot harder than you ever thought was possible. The catchy refrain of “It’s Not Fair” (“It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair.”) is like a twee tantrum set to the Ramones’ buzzsaw attack.
Post Teens’ side isn’t bad though, but while their sound provides interesting counterpoints, it doesn’t really eclipse the A side. This is partly structural. Post Teens’ songs are shorter and faster and go by a lot quicker, making the split feel a little front heavy. Post Teens are also a lot less dynamic, giving their garagey, almost hardcore punk rock a droney feel. Now, to be fair, their side does rock hard. But it takes a little more from the listener to get into it. Its less accessible than Big Eyes’ bubblegum scuzz, but maybe a little more rewarding in the long run. If Big Eyes’ was the big beach party, Post Teens’ is the after party under the docks– where sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll form an unholy trinity of teenage hedonism.
It may not be a classic ten years down the road. But how many truly are? It captures the heat and the burning desire to go outside and do something that inhabits the season with ease and grace. It makes me want to go skateboard, inevitably fail, and then wonder if I’d do better with a longboard. Its youth, and all the endless possibilities it comes loaded with.
3.5/5 – Stream the full split below.