We recently featured this trio of precocious American teens as Band of the Day, and we’ll shortly be able to tell you what they’re like live as we see them open for Bowling For Soup in Edinburgh. So, what magic can they create in the studio? Well… pretty impressive magic, actually.
New Kids In America is the girls’ debut EP and it’s a bloody impressive release from three kids of such tender years. Let’s make this clear – they can sing, they can play and they can write a damn tune. If you like pop punk in the style of early Avril Lavigne (yes, I know it’s an easy comparison but it’s a fair one) then Not Ur Girlfrenz will be right up your musical alley. They manage to rock without being twee, and this little 5-song package is a great introduction to them.
“Warped” gets us off to a bouncing, smiling start with a rhythm that BFS themselves would be proud of. Liv can hit the high notes more easily than Jaret can, though – sorry dude, but it had to be said. Maren knows how to keep the trio in rhythm without going over the top with fancy fills, and Gigi’s bass envelops her sister’s (Liv’s) guitar giving some rhythm to the string section.
“No One Asked You Anyway” is a bit more teen angsty, but with a great toe-tapping rhythm and a chorus that sounds bigger than should be allowed for three people to create. Now I admit I was a little disappointed in the title track… but only because I was expecting some kind of riff on Kim Wilde’s classic. In fairness to the girls, they did cover Kim (and Mel)’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” last year, so homage has been paid. Sorry, sidetracked. It’s a great little song, an anthem for the modern teenager without being “look at me, I’m important”.
The closest thing to a ballad on here is the acoustic-led “Somehow” which lets the group show their softer side, and that they can still perform a good song when stripped down to the bare bones musically. Well, until the full band kick in a little over halfway through at which point they just rock it again. And yes, Liv, you do sound cheesy but we forgive you!
“Friends or Memories” rapidly brings us back to raucous guitars and that old break-up question – are we going to remain friends or should we just forget each other and walk away? It’s loud, it’s in your face… it’s a great pop punk track.
I could be accused of giving more credit to the band than I should because of their ages, but honestly they deserve it. Production on the EP is top notch which definitely puts them in a good light, but I’ve listened to some of their older stuff – and live material – on YouTube and they really are this good. A brilliant debut EP from a genuinely talented group of youngsters who deserve to ride this wave for as long as they’re able. I’m really looking forward to seeing them live next week.
New Kids in America is out now