"Taking Everything" - 7"
(Toxic Pop Records)
Tenement's sound is tied loosely to East Bay punk rock, and more tightly to the late 90s when the sound was at its best. This new 7" absolutely represents "pop punk," but only if you use the definition of it then. Their recipe is heavy on mid-tempo, semi-distorted guitar riffs and melodic, but never syrupy vocal lines. There's a swagger, especially in the title track, which nods indirectly (but definitively) in the direction of The Replacements' barbed sentimentality. It's pop-punk, which feeds on the melodic (if often limp) rock of the 80s and 90s, before pop-punk had the years to simply feed on itself musically and otherwise.
Side B's stellar "Daylight World" reminds me of early Scared Of Chaka, especially vocally. I don't think these kids aped the sound directly from them or any other single band. But if you were to ape something in 2012, Scared Of Chaka would be a beyond-welcome source. A summation of 20 years of melodic rock history into 25-minute pop punk records was potent then, and a motherfucking revalation now. Maybe these kids never heard a note of classic-Chaka, what's important is that they understood it; indirectly or otherwise.
If anything, Tenement seem to have one current contemporary in Dear Landlord. Both bands cull the best of late-90s melodic punk into a straightforward package that belies each bands' decade, but is true to their small-town Midwestern roots. (There may be a thriving scene in Appleton, Wisconsin that Tenement are piggybacking on, but I doubt it.) Of all that's going on (and, more importantly, not going on) here, it's hard not to find these few short songs as a tiny, but trusty life preserver in an ocean of Tumblr-band-hogshit.
Tenement - "Taking Everything"
-- S. ANDERSON