After frontgal Natalie Foster sings about a “pretty nice” not-so-nice guy, well, you can surely paint a near-perfect picture of the smug schmuck’s face. Her stories are plainspoken, vivid; your best friend could have, just as easily, starred in the same role. Yeah, Fosters’ lines coax heaps of youthful verve, and the same can be said for the band’s backing. But the material here comes as uniquely mature given its subject matter – and the band’s collective age, too.
For the most part taking the typical, likely relatable teenage trail of heartbreak, frustration, more schmucks, and past chucks, Late Teens sets off with all the expected emotion, all the angst. Take the single ‘Headwreck’: an explosive romp, in which Foster confronts a past partner (“I got confused when I saw the bruises on your neck / When I said it out loud, your desperation was the best”). The line’s quippy, and, again, perfectly vivid all the while hilarious.
Then come some more ambitious cuts, such as the half-way-to-arena-rock opener, ‘Crash’, or the intriguing ‘Golden State’. The latter track, presumably, touches on issues of gentrification; Foster hints at neighbourhood unrest in a few lines (“I can hear you up the road / Just shouting at the wall with your fist in his mouth… I can hear you in the hallway / Chatting’ with your old mate but no one’s around”). Press Club’s lyricism can often seem that tad bit more meaty, quintessentially so on this track, spotlighting their ambitious, matured take to songwriting.
The album’s title says it all, really. Late Teens presents a hustling band of young DIY artists, and documents their joint struggle spent straddling an arbitrary line between late adolescence and young adulthood – with all the faff, all the tears, and no scuzzy detail spared.