REVERB: Tea Cozies: Bean Team

Bouncing between quirk and mayhem with a bubblegum-punk quartet.

"I'm Brady, and I like to giggle.""I'm Jessi, and I like to frown.""I'm Kelly. I don't like anything."In person, the Tea Cozies make the same first impression as their debut record, Hot Probs: charming, funny, unapologetically tongue-in-cheek. The band—drummer Kelly Viergutz, guitarists and frontwomen Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey, and bassist Jeff Anderson (who was in New York City at the time of this interview)—is equal parts garage rock and '60s girl group, punk and bubblegum, Blur and Bikini Kill. As always, it's the pretty pop sheen that sucks you in first, then the clever lyrics."Corner Store Girls," a catchy, saccharine ditty about prowling for boys, is the record's most approachable song. What's not to love about girl-group harmonies, a catchy synth organ hook, and lines like "Boardwalk boys always get fake names"? Hot Probs is packed with funny one-liners: "Told Mom and Dad I can't do the dishes/Now I gotta, now I gotta sleep with the fishes." The Tea Cozies' adorable quirks even extend to a baffling preoccupation with Steven Spielberg, unceremoniously told to go fuck himself on Hot Probs' first track, "Boys at the Metro.""I hate Jaws," Reed explains. "It made me fear the ocean because of sharks, but it also made me fear fresh water because of the part where the shark goes into that bay and eats that kid off the boogie board."Sure, these girls can write cute, clever songs, but when the band addresses their fears, it suddenly sounds less like pop and more like art, as on Hot Probs' apocalyptic last song, "Behind the Glass Eye." "[I wrote that] when I was riding the bus home every day during rush hour and was imagining the end of the world and meteors smashing into everything," Reed says. "I have recurring nightmares about the apocalypse."Bouncing between cotton-candy pop and three-chord punk-rock mayhem might seem like an amateur move, but the Tea Cozies have cultivated a distinct sound that binds the record together—whether Harvey's shrieking into the microphone like a banshee or Reed's crooning about the end of the world. "To me, the best type of album is the kind that you can make seven different kinds of mixtapes from," Reed says."Sometimes I love listening to Nick Drake, and I just want to listen to an album that feels the same from the beginning to the end. But I really like an album that has a total jellybean mix of different kinds of songs in the same sound that you can pull apart, but together they sound amazing, too."sbrickner@seattleweekly.com

 
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