If you aren’t familiar with Chumped yet, you could be forgiven – they are only 2 years old with but a single release to their name prior to the album Teenage Retirement. If that is the case, allow me to introduce you to the Brooklyn based quartet, whose self described ‘bummer punk’ is definitely worth a moment of your time
As the genre name might suggest, this is not music that will have you joyously dancing and laughing with every song – in fact some of the songs are better suited to wallowing around in your underwear all day watching TV re-runs – but it is infectious from first play and delicately well written.
‘Hot 97 Summer Jam’, the first single from Teenage Retirement, is a fine example of where Chumped’s clever song-writing shines through, the opening lyrics tell the story of an unrequited love: “We’re reading books/ We’re drinking coffee/ I’m looking at you/ You’re looking through me.” Anika Pyle’s delivery throughout the album feels right on point with the tone of the record; she moves from quiet and restrained to absolutely crying out without losing any presence. Backed by the wailing guitars and punchy drums that become something of a signature sound for Chumped on this record.
Many of Chumped’s songs dwell on similar topics of helplessness, wasting time and past lovers, but they are often delivered with such energy it is hard to feel the same apathy whilst listening to them. Take the track ‘Coffee’, the only song on the record which sees bassist Doug McKeever step up to the mic, leaving Pyle to provide some backup vocals. One of the faster paced melodies on Teenage Retirement, the combination actually works nicely, giving the song a more in your face feel.
My favourite track, ‘Songs About Boats’, has the same aggression – though it creeps along quietly to begin with and then suddenly is upon you. For me it’s an essential listen; it clocks in at just under two minutes but nonetheless manages to build up a significant head of steam for the final chorus which is carried home passionately by Pyle’s vocals.
The album closes out with ‘The Pains of Being… and Old and Tired’, where we get to see another side of Chumped – a slower more intricate side. The change of pace does not do their brazen punk style any harm, and is positively refreshing in places. ‘Old and Tired’ further showcases the band’s lyrical poetry: “Its noon but you’re still crippled by the covers/ Another day alone/ Cause everything you love is either died or moved away/What’s the point in waking up today.”
Teenage Retirement is absolutely engaging from start to finish, and available for streaming now, so listen below and see what you’ve been missing out on.