Posted by Aphra Magazine on 26/5/15.
Heyrocco’s debut album Teenage Movie Soundtrack produces an epic combination of catchy pop tunes and heavy grunge sound – a self-styled genre the band have termed as ‘Disney Grunge’. It radiates with a fantasy essence, offset by heavier, elevating musical streaks intent on sending your adrenaline through the roof. Vocalist and guitarist Nathan, bassist Chris and drummer Taco are all from Charleston, South Carolina, where they started off jamming in their parent’s garage five years ago. As a grunge lover, I found this album extremely satisfying to listen to as it balances two contrasting sounds and therefore draws a wider range of listeners with different tastes. Heyrocco’s lyricism is raw and heart-felt, as Nathan appeals to listeners of all ages who can relate with the difficulty of dealing with teenage drama: the difficult journey of self-discovery, love, relationships and heartbreak.
In opener ‘Loser Denial’, Nathan confronts an internal struggle as he searches for a purpose in this chaotic world. His relatable lyrics are gripping and emotive, and the centrepiece of a wonderful song, as he sings, ‘Why haven’t I found my place yet, I am never one-hundred percent and everybody seems to be on top of something while I’m on top of nothing’. This dynamic rhythm section highlights both the highs and lows of a song that juxtaposes grinding grunge with softer pop to great effect.
‘Melt’ is a track that highlights Nathan’s introspective lyrical approach as he sings about his feelings for a girl and reaches out to her. The song is kick-started with a heavy guitar sound, and then softens as Nathan pines for this girl. Like ‘Loser Denial’, ‘Melt’ fluctuates between highs and lows as Chris and Taco work their magic.
‘Virgin’ is a prominent track on the album. Here Nathan bitterly tells people to ‘mind your own fucking business’, challenging male stereotypes of sex, virginity and masculinity, as he sings: ‘Are you a virgin, maybe I am, why would you care?’. ‘Heavy-hitting kids love their football, grizzly and cigarettes,’ he continues. These two lines take a powerful look at the act of losing your virginity and how it relates to ideas of masculinity and manhood. Nathan defies these stereotypes because he feels discomfort in being in such an environment, and breaks them down in a thought-provoking and insightful way. ‘Virgin’ is also heavily influenced ‘90s grunge, particularly the chorus; Chris and Taco amp up their bass and drum playing as Nathan loudly announces, ‘Quit digging around, I don’t get around but I like pretty flowers’.
‘Mom Jeans’ also made an impression on me because it’s softer and quite melodious in comparison to most of the other songs on Teenage Movie Soundtrack. It emanates more of that romanticised Disney vibe as Chris and Taco add a smoother feel to Nathan’s flowery vocals. ‘And maybe in the spring-time, we could make it our time, whisper back and forth on your parents porch while drinking shitty box wine,’ he sings. He reminisces over a past relationship that diminished over time, and aches to return to where both their lives were simpler and less burdened with expectations.
‘Jake Miller’s House Party’ has a more upbeat and exciting sound, as Nathan takes the issue of peer pressure and image head on. He sings, ‘I crawl in someone else’s skin and make believe it’s mine, everyone loves the boy that can’t ever say no’.
Teenage Movie Soundtrack lives up to its ‘Disney Grunge’ name, as we witness the trio bring their teen dramas to life with hearty compositions; they amp up the mood with their raw excitement and angst, demanding that you pump up their jam when it comes on.
Heyrocco – Teenage Movie Soundtrack is out June 2 via Old Flame Records