Album Review: Teenage Casket Company – “Still Standing”
That title is pretty apt. For a few minutes there, it was looking pretty bleak for Nottingham’s finest exponents of shiny glam-metal-pop-punk. Following the departure of guitarist Jamie Delerict to form JD & The FDC’s a few years ago, it seemed as though TCC had lost a bit of the fire of old – their live performances seemed to take a while to adapt to the new power trio format they’d adopted and with various members taking time out to pursue other projects (bassist Laney doing service with the Black Mollys and the Bulletboys among others as well as putting out the rather excellent “Straight To Video” EP earlier this year, and frontman Rob Wylde currently playing bass with the latest incarnation of Tigertailz), this album has quite a bit of ground to catch up, in spite of the group’s live performances now definitely being back up to the old standard and the recruitment of new guitarist Dave Kerr from Silverjet to bring the line-up back to four.
It seems like a tall order but I’m happy to report that “Still Standing” sees TCC back on the sort of form that got them noticed in the first place. The opening track is a fist-in-the-air “fuck you” to their detractors with a powerhouse riff and a big skyscraping chorus and “First Night Of Your Life” keeps the standards up with the sort of big Eureka Machines-style chorus which you can easily see becoming a live favourite, likewise the strutting “You Only Love Me (When You Hate Me)” with its insistent “na-na-na” refrain.
In fact, I’d actually go so far to say that “Still Standing” actually surpasses TCC’s previous output – I dunno whether it’s the superb crystal clear production on this record or whether they’ve just put the new tricks they’ve learned in the intervening years to good use, but somehow they sound bigger and bolder than they ever did before whether they’re churning out a big epic Def Lep style power ballad (“Make It Through The Night”), a chugging riff-rock stormer like “Girl”, a sunny slice of Lit-style pop-punk like former single “Best Friend Is My Radio” or a big arena rock anthem like “Kings Of The World”.
Say hello then to the new amped-up ROCK version of TCC then. I think you’re gonna like them a lot. Like I said at the beginning, “Still Standing” is a very aptly named album – what could have been the sound of a once-mighty group whimpering to a halt is in fact the sound of them confidently moving their sound forward to exciting new horizons. Suddenly the future looks very bright for them…