I confess: I’m prejudiced against dudes with long, layered haircuts. They probably want to look like Ron Wood or Mick Ronson or some other early ‘70s rock icon, but in choosing such a coif they remind me of Rod Stewart. That’s not good for the digestion. But holy hot damn, friends, Teen Bop Dream calls for us to rise above such thinking, clear away the cobwebs of narrow-mindedness. The Soda Pop Kids look like goofs but the first four cuts on Teen Bop Dream scorch along like those early Bobbyteens songs when Karen Supercharger was in the band: bubblegum garage punk with a kitschy, “let’s embrace and update the sounds of the ‘70s” attitude. (Speaking of mental outlook, the Soda Pop Kids radiate an irreverence that, in a perfect world, would lead to their own Saturday morning cartoon show.) There are also shades of the Exploding Hearts, Nice Boys, and Donny Denim. Then the band brings the room down, in terms of energy, not mood, with a couple of slow-burning ballads and, on the second-to-last cut, a country tune. I wanted more of the barnburning early songs, but the twists and turns provide unexpected contrasts and lead to a really good record. And if using hairspray helped the Soda Pop Kids in any way, I’ll reconsider my stance on aerosol styling products.
–Mike Faloon (Full Breach)