Brooklyn four-piece The Teen Age describes the band’s music as “Doo Wop Garage.” But such a pigeon-holed description does them a disservice. On their latest EP, Ways to Adapt, this young act (formed in 2012) displays a depth in simplicity and simplicity in depth with songs that are at once basic and rich, accessible and daring. Over the course of four songs, The Teen Age demonstrates an impressive range of influences while adhering to a cohesive and original sound.
Ways to Adapt begins with “Memories,” consisting of three full, grungy chords repeated over and over, above low-fi, pounding drums. The singer sounds like John Reis of Rocket From the Crypt with a little less edge. That similarity welcomes SoCal punk comparisons, but the music on “Stop” is a little more eerie. Again, it is powered by three chords, but this time the music is more jangly than heavy, and the reverb on the vocals gives The Teen Age some indie-pop cred.
“Sleep Alone” starts with a beat that sounds like The Dead Milkmen covering The Misfits’ “Die, Die My Darling,” but the chorus settles down, feeling like Adam Ant meets Jan and Dean. The crunchy bass throughout keeps everything at a nice, urgent level. Final number, “Photographs,” starts out very slowly — almost worrisome — but then it picks and proves to be the fastest and most adventurous song on Ways to Adapt. And finally, at the end, we get the first hints of “doo wop” in the “hoo ooo”s that punctuate the song. If The Teen Age is currently experiencing its own musical adolescence, Ways to Adapt is a great start to a career in music that will only get better with age.