In the annals of definitive opening lines, there’s a special place for the one that graces Retirement Party’s debut album Somewhat Literate: “I think cancer’s gonna kill me/ Cause I got a real bad sunburn when I was 15/ Couldn’t sit in a classroom chair for at least a week.” Avery Springer’s delivery is conversational and anxious and analytical to a fault, qualities that recur often on the Chicago trio’s first album.
She’s often looking to the past to find an answer to her problems in the present, and Somewhat Literate is as much a snapshot of a person as it is a great collection of pop-punk songs. “For once in my life I try not to overemphasize this situation of who I am and who I want to be,” she sings on a later track. “Draw the line and realize that things are not cut with precision/ I’m probably never gonna be happy.”
The recent Band To Watch honorees respond to Springer’s often wordy self-analyses with riffs that are as sturdy as her thoughts are malleable. These songs aren’t afraid to fuck shit up, and tracks like “The Big Boom” and “Jericho” live up to their larger-than-life titles, with hooks that drag you along with them. And while the trio does lovingly pull from their shared musical history, from Green Day to Chumped and everything in between, their chemistry lets them do some really exciting stuff with those influences.
Listen to the full album via Brooklyn Vegan below.
Somewhat Literate is out 5/25 via Counter Intuitive Records. Pre-order it here.