The Teenagers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

The Teenagers

Reality Check

(XL Recordings)

London-based French pop trio the Teenagers are capable of turning out a good song. The trouble is that song is reworked 12 different ways on their debut album, the latest in the line of average indie-pop dressed up as nu-rave.

The basic recipe works: guitars, drum machine, rising dance rhythms and adolescent lyrics about sex and swearing. But there is so little sophistication about the Teenagers, from the novice musicianship to the shallow themes and artless lyrics. There is a song about a holiday romance, Homecoming, a dual narrative where she's in love and he's in lust; another about infatuation, Scarlett Johansson; and one on youth violence, Streets of Paris.

Unlike better modern-day lyricists such as the Streets' Mike Skinner, there is no real or humorous insight into modern life as teenagers, unless these lives are as empty as the songs here.

'You're just 19, already the bitchiest queen/ Your room's a mess, I'm not impressed', sings Quentin Delafon on F*** Nicole, about drug abuse and despair.

'I'll sell my mum to be lost with you/ Lost in Tokyo or anywhere else/ I wish I'd been invited to your party in Disneyland,' he pleads on Scarlett Johansson.

Perhaps it's the language barrier, but the Teenagers are trying to comment on life and instead deliver prosaic platitudes, name-checking anything and everyone from Maria Carey to Blink 182, vodka Redbull and Orlando Bloom.

Delafon's monotone vocals don't help either; by comparison, Bernard Sumner's vocal range sounds operatic.

Enjoy the singles, but don't invest hope in the album, or the band. The Teenagers are raw, but it's unlikely they'll be around by the time they grow up.