Heyrocco - Teenage Movie Soundtrack
by Dom Ford
I first discovered Heyrocco when they played the Mahatma Music launch event a few months back where they commanded the Cavern stage with an effortless cool. This perfectly suited their music that sounded to me like pop punk made by people who are way too cool for pop punk (i.e. not me). Although I remember their live show fondly, I only took one song away and added it to my regular rotation: lead single Mom Jeans. I was interested to hear the rest of the album therefore, to see if my lack of memory was due to the songs themselves or the alcohol consumed on the night.
Teenage Movie Soundtrack is much in the vein of Mom Jeans, with not a lot of digression. It’s a signature sound that Heyrocco stick to. And when they do deviate, it’s with some ironic self-deprecation, or even jocular comments at the fans, as in the track Santa Fe (Stupid Lovesong):
“You’re everybody’s favourite song They don’t care I’ve done you wrong They just want to sing along They just want a stupid love song”
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since they are very good at the style they’re going for, but it can become just a little grating and tiresome after multiple listens. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially since they are very good at the style they’re going for, but it can become just a little grating and tiresome after multiple listens.
Heyrocco seem like a refreshing mix of apathetic Britpop and high-energy pop punk with solid instrumentals and a distinctive lead singer. It’s possible that frontman Nathan’s voice is not for everyone, the kind that might be described as “whiney”, but fortunately it’s right up my street. The interplay between the vocals and instrumentals is particularly interesting on this LP. The lead guitar has a tendency to follow Nathan’s vocals very closely, but the rhythm section is often used to offer a counterpoint. At points they allow the crashing drums and bass to drown out everything else, but in a very good way, while at other times the vocals completely dominate. The result is an album that feels very vocally-focused, but in a way that doesn’t make the rest of the band seem like the backing to a solo artist.
Teenage Movie Soundtrack works brilliantly as a debut LP to firmly establish a distinctive “Heyrocco” sound. I’d be interested in the future to see them try something a little new, but for now they scratch a punky itch for me in a refreshing way, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on them in the future. I’ll also use this opportunity to praise their live performance (I saw them at a Mahatma as I mentioned, but I didn’t review them), and I’d be very excited to see them come back.