An album that melds 60’s garage pop and surf rock with contemporary lo-fi hazy post punk is a great sound for a band of today to strive for. Finally giving some much deserved attention to a style of music that helped build the groundwork for the punk music of the ’70s and beyond, while also blending into the seemingly endless stream of interesting and evolving post punk that is being produced today, Tijuana Panthers have found a tidy little home in the indie rock-bordering-on-punk scene. Their newest release, POSTER, is a perfectly fun record to listen to on your walk to the first day of classes, trying to ignore the end of summer. Unfortunately, nothing ever quite stands out in the mix to make this a truly memorable record.
The opening track on POSTER, “Foolish,” immediately dives into the surf rock inspired vibe of the rest of the album, made clear by an unmistakable guitar styling. To be frank, the most interesting work on this album comes at the beginning. This is not due to lack of quality later in the album, but since there is so little variation between the songs, things start to drag on at a certain point. Early songs like “Church Bell” and most especially “Send Down the Bombs,” are quirky, peppy tracks that will keep your head nodding and even maybe inspire a Charlie Brown-esque bopping and dancing. By closing track “Trujillo,” POSTER seems to have dropped the surfy, groovy vibe that it had worked so hard to introduce early on and allowed itself to give way to much less interesting moping with lots of echo. While listeners may be drawn to re-listen to the earlier songs on this record, a full replay may not exactly be in the cards.
Currently, post punk is easily the most prolific subgenre in its class. Every day a new band is attempting to make their mark in a genre that is already a deconstruction of any number of music styles and a surprising number of them are succeeding. It would be hasty to claim that Tijuana Panthers is not one of those successful bands, as they definitely have everything going for them. They write catchy, wistful songs and are clearly quite talented and capable musicians. POSTER just doesn’t quite hit the mark, especially when pitted against so many other incredible releases this year and in recent years past. More focus on the garage pop origins that the band so clearly is taking their influence from and there might be a real winner up their sleeves.