Review: Chumped, ‘Teenage Retirement’

Posted 3 years ago by Joel Funk
I’ve talked about more female fronted bands that I ever thought I would this year, so it’s safe to assume by now that I’ve told you guys just how hypercritical I am of their vocal delivery. It’s not something that I do consciously, but I can recognize that I’m doing it. I guess I’m always afraid that it’s going to come across as dull and lifeless. I don’t want it to be a gimmick, and I don’t want it to be something you sell your band on. Basically, I don’t want your band to be Candy Hearts.

Chumped is a young self-described bummer punk band from Brooklyn. They play a brand of pop punk that feels reminiscent of Mixtapes if Maura took over vocal responsibility. Their debut album ‘Teenage Retirement’ is an incredible 12 song effort that shows just what a talented band Chumped is. I can listen to this record front to back without skipping a single track, and I do just that regularly. The more I listen to this record, the more I appreciate how fun it is. It has that lighthearted singalong vibe that helped make pop punk what it was at it’s peak, and I’m constantly finding myself in awe at just how well this band pulls it off.

Teenage Retirement’ opens up with “December Is The Longest Month.” This track does an incredible job of grabbing your attention, as the opening riff is fun to listen to and carries you right into your first taste of Anika’s vocals. You’re either going to love them or you’re going to hate them, but I can’t imagine a lot of people leaning towards the latter. Her voice just sounds like it belongs, and I couldn’t imagine anybody else doing this vocals for this band. 

The vocals aren’t sultry or soulful, but they’re also not limp and lifeless. She knows how to emote and make sure that what she’s feeling is communicated very clearly. I would go far as to say that she has one of the best voices in the genre, point blank. She can outdo just about anybody. There are, however, a few moments where she’s not on vocal duty. Three songs into the album, we see a male vocalist take his turn in “Coffee.” It’s not bad, and it kind of reminds of bands like NOFX, but you can’t help but to miss Anika during these moments.

The only real gripe I have with this record is the timing of the release. Pop punk, when it’s this true to form, will always feel like summertime. There’s something about that carefree attitude that feels like it was made for the warmer weather. The music I listen to in the late fall and early winter is usually slowed down, more introspective, and just all around darker both thematically and sonically. That doesn’t take anything away from the record, but I feel like it’s not getting it’s proper time to shine.

There are singular songs that I could listen to by themselves that don’t feel so out of place. The two that come to mind the easiest would be “December Is The Longest Month” and “Anywhere But Here.” However, those fit the mold for my winter time/hate everything jams. They’re slower, they’re bitter, and the emotion is on the forefront. The delivery toward the end of “Anywhere But Here” is incredible, and has really cemented itself into a must hear track from the record.

Songs like “Name That Thing” only continue to prove that Chumped knows how to write an incredible pop punk song. The earlier made comparison to Mixtapes really shines through in this track. It’s another one of those songs that you need to hear from this album. It’s up tempo, catchy as hell, and some of my favorite gang vocals ever.

Musically, this album is a triumph. Done well, pop punk is one hell of a genre, and Chumped does it beautifully. I know that I sound like a broken record at this point, but if you’re already spinning this album, I know you agree. The drums hit hard and the guitar work is incredibly light, but still very much a driving force. It was hard to not give a huge eye roll when I first heard this band being called pop punk prodigies, but now I can’t help but excitedly agree.

Pop punk is in good hands with bands like Chumped coming to it’s rescue. ‘Teenage Retirement’ is an incredibly fun record that’s hard to stop once you’ve started. The only thing that could have made this record better is timing, as this genre will always feel like summertime to me. Everything else is incredibly on point. The future’s looking bright for Chumped, and I can’t wait to see them capture the pop punk crown. 4.5/5