The cover of Teens of USA, the new EP from the Pretty Whores – they’ve nixed “…of Manhattan” from their name – proudly displays three dudes in ripped jeans kicking, punching and grinning like goofballs. The accompanying music is pretty much the aural equivalent of that photo. Firing off eight songs in 18 minutes, Teens of USA consists of no-frills Hives-style garage rock. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it sure has fun spinning it.
The title track kicks off the EP with buzzsaw guitars, pounding drums and screeching (some might even say “howling”) vocals. From that start until the finish of “My Hometown,” Teens of USA does not let it up. What’s offered here is uncomplicated rock and/or roll in the vein of The (International) Noise Conspiracy and, ya know… The Hives.
Teens of USA’s biggest strength (it’s fist-pumping bar-ready punk rock!) is also its biggest weakness though. The CD offers no surprises and, given its close proximity to other, higher profile bands, Pretty Whores is the kind of act you already know your feelings towards without hearing a single note. Either you dig Jack White-esque shrieks or you don’t. Same thing with the topics: partying and scene politics. The closest thing the band comes to discussing “real” issues is “When are You Going to Start to Study?”, which is way catchier than its patriarchal title implies.
That said, it’s hard to hate Pretty Whores. They bring the rock, however derivative. Like Teens of USA’s cover implies, the music exists in the space between thrash-worthy and danceable.