Reviews

Reviews for “Teen Angst and the Green Flannel”

Tom Flannery and the Shillelagh’s debut album, Teen Angst and the Green Flannel is not available on vinyl. But it should be. It has a pure rock and roll sound that is a throwback to another era; something you rarely hear on the radio today….a stellar album of pure rock, full of angst, pain, and love (or something like it). It is a guitar driven reflection on life from the point of view of what has always driven rock and roll: youth. Teen Angst and the Green Flannel is a rock album done right, meant to be played loud….

Like all great legendary songs of rock and roll, many of the tunes on this album are about girls, love and lust. “She Ain’t Mine (But She Should Be)” opens with a Benny Goodman-esque drum roll and powers through with screaming guitar and a classic rock beat. Then there’s “Now She’s Gone” and “I Just Want Her Off My Mind,” reflecting on feelings we all had growing up. Listening to them made me wonder how I even made it out of my teen years, when every look, every gesture was misinterpreted and reinterpreted into something much more than it actual was. “I Just Want Her Off My Mind” hits this home nicely, with Flannery’s voice accentuated by solo guitar between stanzas and ending with a melancholic harmonica, reminiscent of vintage Dylan. It’s great hearing Flannery with more than just an acoustic guitar and he seems at home in the midst of distortion, power and beat. Electricity flows freely through this album.

The album slows down twice, in the retrospective “Cincinnati” and “Maybe It’s True.” “Cincinnati” is a stunner of a song, with a beautiful piano accompaniment and lyrics reflecting a love lost and an uncertainty about what lies ahead:

Wounds as raw as a name carved in stone
When love comes tumblin’ down
Before I get old there’s safes to be blown
I’ll dive in the river and drown

“Once rock got into your head it stayed there,” Flannery writes in the voice of Jimmy. “And if you tried to run away it tracked your ass down and did it to you all over again. Rock that mattered I mean. The kind that made people wince. It’s still around if you look hard enough.”

Indeed, it is.

— Bruce David Janu – award winning documentary filmmaker

“I hear Flannery was aiming at a kind of coal cracker’s Quadrophenia, and he’s hit it. It’s got all the urgency, the angst and the manic melancholy of the place he writes from.”

— Seamus McGraw / contributor to Playboy, Reader’s Digest, Penthouse, Radar, Spin, and The Forward. Author of The End Of Country

“Teen Angst and the Green Flannel” kicks in the door as well as anything done by the Stooges and the Who in their primes…a truly great rock and roll record.”
— Mike Naydock / OurTownRadio

“You can picture the group continuously jumping around the room and having a blast playing loud, fun rock ’n roll. They sound like the lovechild of The Who and 1986 R.E.M”
— Electric City

“A rip-roaring, guitar-driven, foot-stompin’ collection of old-school roadhouse rock. Play this one loud and enjoy.”
— Alan K. Stout, 102.3-FM, The Mountain.

“Stunning.This is solid, straight-up rock-n-roll in the tradition of The Who, The White Stripes, Crazy Horse, The Heartbreakers, and The Replacements….Tom Flannery really took a chance writing this record…assemble a group of studio pro’s, but made them play with the exuberance of a young garage band. Craft a batch of professional songs with big hooks and big melodies, but filter them through the eyes of a f**ked up teenager. And hope that it all works. Oh. Make it a semi-concept album, too…I suggest that music lovers give this CD a whirl. Turn it up to ten, like the way it was recorded, and be prepared to feel good…..

The Shillelaghs are the best kept secret in Pennsylvania.”

– Ron Simasek (Badlees)

Tom Flannery has been carrying on the tradition of the folksinger for twenty-some years. He has written his share of topical songs, historical songs (“Anthracite Shuffle”), musings on the state of the world, and has managed to work more than a few contemporary characters from the real world into his songs. For a quite a while, he resisted any kind of added production. (I know: I produced his first two albums.) And his minimalist approach was just right for his lyrics, which often had enough twists that elaborate musical backing would distract.

But deep down inside, I got the feeling he wanted to rock out at some point…and that is what Flannery has done on his new album “Teen Angst & the Green Flannel.” A band album comprising three other veteran musicians from varying backgrounds: including rock, blues and reggae, the Shillelaghs give Flannery a chance to plug in and turn it up.

It’s a bunch of mainly love songs, making the rounds through appropriate territory from broken hearts, to unrequited love, to “get lost.” But the material works well, and Flannery’s lyrical powers are harnessed to the matters at hand. It’s not a total electrification though. There are a pair of very nice acoustic tracks, “Cincinnati” which fits into the broken heart category, and the melancholy “Maybe It’s Time.”

The one bit of the old Flannery the balladeer actually comes on one of rockers. “I Think About That Train,” weaves in a bit the regional mining history and Flannery’s fascination with railroads and their part in his home area. The band is tasteful enough not to interfere with his words.

It’s obvious that Flannery and his band had fun making the music. Those who have discovered Flannery’s seemingly endless supply of folksongs may be in for a surprise, but it’s an enjoyable record that’s well done all around.

— George Graham / WVIA-FM

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