In their press release Teen Canteen describe themselves as, amongst other things, a wish thrown into a well and a hot, messy cherry cola kiss, both of which they undoubtedly are. But what they forgot to mention that they are also a very welcome and long overdue breath of fresh air on a scene which has grown acrid in its predictability.
Made up of members Carla, Sita, Amanda, Marlena and Debbie the sound they conjure up is reminiscent of the Shangri La’s filtered through Arcade Fire anchored by Phil Spector beats and accompanied by sunshine Beach Girl harmonies. Add to this their uninhibited and natural use of their native Scottish accents and Teen Canteen have concocted a heady brew which although it may ring with familiarity is also highly original and fresh on the ear.
Over coffee with front person and main songwriter Carla Easton to discuss the recent release of their debut single Honey which has been receiving extensive airplay from staunch supporter Marc Riley on Radio 6 – the initial run of old school cassettes as download have already sold out – it transpired that despite their assured confidence and professional approach the band had formed as some sort of happy accident only last year. Not only that however but they have been performing in their latest incarnation for only a matter of months.
Easton also revealed that they had avoided pressure to record until they were ready as she felt the market had been filled with bands releasing music before either they or their music was ready. Unwilling to fall into the trap of rushing themselves they held back until they were ready and the clarity and rush of debut single Honey more than proves their instincts right as the record emerges victorious as a fully formed testament to their storming live performances. It also contains all the elements which are typical of their sound as it has quiet, thoughtful moments but also builds to anthemic rushes.
As for the much discussed use of their own accents in a way their more famous Scottish forebears – Lulu, Annie Lennox and Sheena (no relation) Easton – never did and in a world where even the fiercely feisty and patriotic Shirley Manson feels the need to adopt a transatlantic vocal drawl the effect is actually one of a strange exoticism combined with a crushing realness.
Material for their debut album is being worked up at the moment and recording scheduled to commence in February. Upcoming live appearances include Manchester’s Star and Garter on November 9th then on Saturday the 16th they are headlining at Rammed, a new live music/clubnight experience in the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh. Both gigs allow for an intimate setting but this band are ready to take on bigger venues so if you want to catch them in intimate surroundings before their career takes flight then now is the time to do it.
Catch Teen Canteen live at either of these dates:
- The Star and Garter Manchester Saturday November 9th
- Rammed at the Voodoo Rooms Speakeasy, Edinburgh on Saturday November 16th.