reviewed by Michael Thomas
Adrian Teacher has a very simple reason for how this album came to be: his drummer Amanda P got sick, but then she got better. Teacher’s dad also got sick, but it doesn’t look like he’ll get better. With these in mind, we get Anxious Love.
I find albums by Adrian Teacher and Shotgun Jimmie are the kinds of pop-rock albums that give me an immense amount of joy. Teacher in particular knows how to pack fully realized songs into very short song lengths—the entire album is nine songs but a mere 19 minutes. There’s an abundance of good feelings, no doubt, but there’s a dark undercurrent in some songs.
The album is unsurprisingly tight and polished, with a ton of driving guitars and sunny vocal harmonies. Every once in a while there’s hints that something is amiss. The looking-back-at-better-times vibe of “Hello Everyone” says how friends used to come to shows and implores you to “take us through the night and show us all the shitty parts of your town.”
After the fast-paced “Anxious Love” and “Modern Art” we start to get a hint of other things on Teacher’s mind with “Slogging Away,” a decidedly softer song. I love the lines “You know I’ve got my reasons/We binge watched all of the seasons.” But towards the end he says “Oh god, I almost lost her.” The pain is even more explicit in “Pop Medicine,” where he mentions cancer and needing to look strong.
A few songs venture out into different avenues. “So Choked” has an insanely catchy bass groove and bonus sax from Karl Blau, while “He Found Beauty and Goodness Everywhere and in Everyone” forgoes vocals and guitars for an instrumental synth exploration.
The album closes with a softer number, “Can’t Fight Love,” featuring just Teacher’s guitar and vocals, with piano by Nicholas Krgovich. As Teacher sings of being engulfed by a restorative love, just like that it’s drawn to a close.
Enjoy this as 20 minutes of pure happiness or have this album fuck you up if preceded by a viewing of the Christopher Robin trailer.
Top Tracks: “Hello Everyone”; “Pop Medicine”; “So Choked”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*