Los Angeles band Teenage Wrist are due to unleash their sophomore album, Earth Is A Black Hole, on us this Friday, February 12, via Epitaph.
Earth Is A Black Hole is the first release since Kamtin Mohager, the former bassist, left the group in late 2019. Despite being a bassist, Mohager was also the original frontman and vocalist. Left as a duo, guitarist Marshall Gallagher has stepped up as frontman, and drummer Anthony Salazar has his back.
This lineup change has been an artistic liberation, according to the band, who claim it has aided the band’s sonic evolution. One thing is for sure Gallagher’s vocals are cleaner and higher in the mix than anything we’ve previously heard from Teenage Wrist.
The band tells us that Earth Is A Black Hole focuses more on the potential that we all have to transmute our past into something positive. The album is more positive than previous offerings, but it’s not too hard to elevate the mood slightly despite being recorded in the pandemic world we’re in.
The record opens with an intro track, ‘Squeeze’, which is primarily instrumental except for some distorted words at the beginning of the track and will have you wondering where this thing is going to go next. ‘Taste Of Gasoline’, the first full song on the album, has a feel of synthpop to it that’s hugely enjoyable. It quickly sets you up for what will be an eclectic album of songs, with a bit of everything you could ask for in such a collection.
Stand out songs on the record include ‘High Again’, a romantic poppier song that makes good use of the band’s newer sound, and the title track ‘Earth Is A Black Hole’, which smacks of something brilliant. Opening with the lines “I’m just a product of the afterglow / The flower of the seed / The story you believe,” then going on to state that he “feels free” and that “it’s just a sign of the times.” Lyrically it is an interesting song, and it’s coupled with some great music, especially on drums.
The album incorporates modern rock elements with their signature shoegaze styling while integrating synths, drum samples, and electronica. All this gives a distinctive sound that’s a blend of many things, including emo music as we now know it. The band themselves tells us that the dichotomy between hope and hopelessness lies at the core of this album.
“Everything will eventually disappear into nothing, and that can make you feel small and insignificant. But that same fact should be motivation to tell the people who are important to you that you love them and savor these beautiful moments in your life because they’re never coming back,” Gallagher explains. “All we have is this moment, and that’s the most important thing: To be present and be positive and transcend the black hole bullshit because it’s all going to end one day.” Today in the current state of affairs, this is something we can all relate to, and so is this album. We recommend that you download a copy because it’s worth listening to more than once.