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Teacher’s Pet – self-titled

Teacher's Pet CD cover

It seems strange to call a disc (or a band, for that matter) “ahead of their time” when the tracks were written 30 years ago, but that just makes Teacher’s Pet stand out that much more. These guys – and this disc – are pop-punk before such a thing existed and got screwed up by bubble gum punk bands like Blink 182. There’s no mistake that this is punk, but it’s without the depressed raging and pissing and moaning that defined the genre from its roots until the late 90s or so.

“Can’t Do That” sets the ably for punk’s energy and vitriol, but – like the rest of the disc – is tinged with some pop and even glam sensibilities. The addition of keys add an extra layer of excited energy that makes you want to get up and move without necessarily wanting to burn down the system. This is a staple on other tracks, including (but not limited to) “Let’s Face It” and “Big Fat Mama”.

This is not to say that the album is totally free from bubble gum punk cheesiness. “Fast Food baby”, “Little Arthur” and “The Cops Are Coming” are rife with the stuff. Te lyrics also have a tendency to become overly trite and simplistic with amateurish rhyme schemes on tracks like “Don’t Need You”, “I’m Henry VIII I Am” and (predictably) “Meet Me At The Hot Dog Stand In Half An Hour But Don’t Tell Your Dad”.

That same seeming immaturity (recklessness?) works flawlessly at other times, though, making tracks like “Hooked On You” far catchier than your average punk rock track – sometimes, this comes at the risk of sounding insincere, such as tracks like “Cincinnati Stomp” (who says you can’t write a catchy song about a dozen people being trampled to death at a rock concert?) and “Teenage Suicide”.

With rockabilly sentiments that run deeper than their cover of “Summertime Blues”, Teacher’s Pet draw from a vast range of influences from Eddie Cochran to The Stooges. It may not always works, but they get high marks for trying – for reinventing the punk sound a couple of decades before Green Day made it cool, they’ll always be this teacher’s pet.

-Late

Teacher’s Pet

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 3.5 stars
***1/2

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