In 2003 the Pink Spiders released Hot Pink on the tiny C.I. label. It was tinny, tough, and raucous garage pop-punk and it caught the ear of someone at Geffen. The band was signed and whisked into the studio with Ric Ocasek, where they re-recorded the best songs from the album and added a handful more. Ocasek, the band, and some studio musicians stripped off all the grit from Hot Pink, replaced the tinny sound with a booming, arena-ready sound and came up with Teenage Graffiti, a safe and slick pop/rock record that doesn't sound too much different that what Hilary Duff passes off as punk. Sporting lushly stacked guitars, sparkling vocal harmonies, and the occasional decorative keyboard, tunes like the bopping "Nobody's Baby" and "Saturday Night Riot" sound like perfect slumber party jams, "Hey Jane" is tailor-made for waving glowsticks back and forth while waiting for the headline act to hit the stage, and the rest is catchy, energetic, and light as a feather. Some even step outside of strict pop-punk guidelines, like the piano-based, mid-period Kinks sounds of the ballad "Adelaide" (with strings even) or the silly Beach Boys vocal harmonies and mock metal soloing of "Pretend This Is Fiction." The lyrical concerns are girls, punk girls, and being as punk as possible, preferably with girls. There are the occasional lyric references to cigarettes, sex, or drinking that may have to be explained to the pre-teen punk set, but these are mostly done in a cute and cartoony way. In fact, everything about the band, from their look to the song titles to the band names (Bob Ferrari -- real or not, that's a cool name for a drummer), is a cartoon, and if you approach the record expecting plastic cartoon punk, it's a satisfying and fun listen. More fun than Good Charlotte, less gloomy than My Chemical Romance, tougher than Ashlee Simpson, the Pink Spiders fill a need for safe punk bands that don't totally stink.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra