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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 221 - 09/09/14

Teeny Grownups
He, She, It Is Polarized EP
Kari Recordings

This is the first time I (or, we here at Luna Kafé) check out Stavanger indie-popsters Teeny Grownups. The quartet is fronted by singer/guitar player Ebbe Helberg, one of many devoted Neutral Milk Hotel / E6 followers around Norway. The other Teeny's are: Tord Ustad Figenschou (guitar, vocals), Gunnar S. Hauge (bass, vocals), and Øystein Aspøy (drums). Well, truth is, years ago LK reviewed Helberg's old band, Arthur! (based in Sandnes, just south of Stavanger) when they released their first (?) single Latvia b/w The Dark Side Of Tjensvoll (Kari Recordings). Anyway, He, She, It Is Polarized EP is Teeny Grownups third EP in a series of four, which started with I Am Polarized EP (in 2012), and continued with You Are Polarized EP last year - both released on Kari Recordings. Hmmmm, better start guessing the title of the last EP...

Teeny Grownups was formed in 2001, inspired by 1960s pop, 1970s DIY punk pop, 1980s indie pop, and 1990s alternative rock. They stick to the jangly lo-fi end of the scale, and seem indeed happy about their place in the sun. The band have put out two albums so far: We are the Teeny Grownups (2006) and Epic Rock (2009). By snap-checking (quick-browsing) their catalogue it seems that bands like Television Personalities, Sebadoh/Sentridoh, Guided By Voices, Beat Happening, Sammy, Pavement (from their early years), Teenage Fanclub, and Guided by Voices can be related to somewhere near where the Teeny Grownups stand. Or, handling the same 'code of ethics'. Then, there's the legendary Norwegian DIY pop band The Tables (plus maybe even a few more Perfect Pop acts), and the almost accompanying band to The Tables: The Chairs (hailing from the Stavanger area as well). Add the contemporary I Was A King, as well. Right, He, She, It Is Polarized holds five songs (plus a quick introduction, and a short instrumental), with Helberg and Figenschou as main songwriters (?), and it opens with the one-for-the-road song, "On the Road". "Judy Walks" is somewhat more catchy, with a more bass-bouncy beat. "Indiepop! Indiepop!" seems to be an ode/tribute/hail song to their own, beloved genre. It's got quite a live feel, and a somewhat internal humoresque feel. The way short "Polarize That" has got a nice pop sike vibe, but ends too soon. The closing "America" works the other way; clocking in at almost 7 minutes, it dresses up as an epic rock song, The Who-style. For me it does not work all that well. Sorry.

So, all in all: some ups, some downs. It seems the band have had a jolly good time making this EP. There are some good moments, but also some loose ends, as well. I sense some nice ideas, humour and warmth, but I miss some stronger material. Yet, you can still consider me a fan/friend!

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