Tweens graces us with their loud, fast, and insanely relatable debut.
To get ready for Tweens’ show at Death by Audio last week, I picked out a floral skirt, trimmed my bangs and applied candy red lipstick because it wouldn’t have felt right any other way. Lead singer Bridget Battle is someone you want in your girl gang. You want to complain to her about your hometown, spill secret crushes, share hookup stories and hang out at all hours of the night. But more than your new friend crush, Battle is an exciting band leader. Her vocals strike Kathleen Hanna’s mix of shout and pout and are what makes Tweens special. Her guitar playing is fast and fuzzy, and keeps the energy high through their 35-minute self-titled debut on Frenchkiss Records. Tweens’ first single “Be Mean” was a perfect intro to the “trash-pop” Cincinnati trio (Battle’s joined by friends Peyton Copes on bass and Jerri Queen on drums). It holds up as the album’s strongest track and sets the formula: loud and fast. Tweens step back from that blueprint only a few times with sock hop slow dance “Want U,” and “Don’t Wait Up” and “Forever” sit somewhere in the middle.
Tweens aren’t actually tweens, but their lyrics will hit home for young people. Album opener “Bored in This City” immediately touches on the weird, draining and confusing transitions of young adulthood (“I’m too young to be this tired,” “Waiting on something to happen”), then Battle cries for help in the chorus: “And this town, it’s eating me alive!” She’s also working out what she wants from relationships, another hallmark of your 20s. On “Be Mean,” her “really great, great guy” is frustratingly nice. Later in the record Battle crushes on a “Hardcore Boy,” who she asks to “please rip my heart in two.” But not everyone is dating material, and on “Girlfriend” Battle’s trying to shake a clinger: “Baby can’t you get the hint / I’ll say it again / Don’t wanna, don’t wanna hold your hand.” Battle sings about not always knowing what she wants from love, life and taking it each day and night at a time (“The bright day time was never the right time” on “Don’t Wait Up”). It’s helpful to know she’s figuring out the same things as us, so turn up the volume and let Tweens’ help shake that angst. More proof you’re not alone: a spectacular all-girl mosh pit formed at their Death by Audio show.