LISA PRANK – ” Adult Teen “

Posted: June 21, 2016 in MUSIC
Tags: , , , ,

Lisa Prank - Adult Teen

The history of one-person pop-punk bands is not exactly a long and storied one.  Lisa Prank, from Seattle, is carrying the flame for one-person pop-punk bands, and she’s doing it beautifully.

Based on the punny name, you’d expect Lisa Prank, whose real name is Robin Edwards, who plays live with a guitar, a drum machine, and no other human beings. And she’s not averse to lyrical cleverness. The rickety home-recording setup is just as catchily tinny . But she’s much less about schtick and much more about exploring messy relationships and romantic miscommunications. There’s a fair amount of Coleen Green or maybe Waxahatchee in what she does, though it’s filtered through a childhood immersed in the arena pop-punk of the late ’90s. (She covers Blink-182’s “Dammit” live.) And there’s a young, fucked-up romanticism to what she’s singing: “When I’m not falling, I am looking for a ledge / And then you kiss me, and I’m jumping in your bed.”


Edwards’ great influences might be bands like New Found Glory and Jimmy Eat World, but in what she does, I hear something slightly older: Edwards is quick to make a self-effacing lyrical joke, the type that takes someone else down with her: “I stick my tongue in your mouth to keep your words from coming out.” Like them, she has an endlessly sharp sense of melody that shines through even though her whole recording setup is pretty rudimentary. And as with those bands, her real greatest weapon is a sense of vulnerability that shows through when you might not be expecting it. “You say you’re not still drinking / You just started again,” she sings on “Starting Again,” the first track on her new “Adult Teen” album, and she stretches “again” out to maybe eight syllables, hiccuping over the second half of the word and wringing all the heartbreak out of it. And then: “I swear I don’t still miss you / I just started again.” When it hits you the right way, it’s heavy stuff.

Edwards started the Lisa Prank project at home in Denver, and then she moved to Seattle at the urging of the band Tacocat when she realized she didn’t have much else going on. These days, she lives in a Seattle punk house with a couple of members of Tacocat, and that band’s Eric Randall produced Adult Teen. It’s a cheap, shiny record, but it’s much more cleaned-up and listenable than Crush On The World, the hissy, scrappy lo-fi cassette EP that she released two years ago. (A couple of Crush On The World songs show up, rerecorded, on Adult Teen.) With the sharper production, Edwards’ lyrics and melodies get to glow, and a relatively mellow jangle like “Turn It Up” takes on a resonance that reminds me of prime Beat Happening.

This is still a scrappy, home-recorded take on pop-punk music, but the songs and the hooks and the feelings are all very much there. Part of me hopes that, next time around, Edwards finds herself out in front of a full-on band, so maybe the drums won’t sound so dinky and maybe the songs will get a chance to sound as huge as I know they can. But it’s also cool to hear someone bringing the one-person pop-punk band forward into a new decade and doing it in an entirely non-gimmicky way.

Adult Teen is out june 24th via Father/Daughter Records on vinyl and Miscreant Records on tape. Stream it at Bandcamp.

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