The single ‘Teenage Frustration’ is the first recording to be released from New Zealand rock’n’roll quartet Devil Gate Drive. The single offers three songs that are decidedly Kiwi in style, from the sleeve image of a Croxley exercise book (red 1B5 cover), to the lyrics (Auckland and Pakuranga being referenced).
‘Teenage Frustration’ is a catchy number, with classic 60s AM radio hooks like double claps and simple piano buried low in the mix, funneled through a low-fi rock’n’roll tunnel, ending up with a simple but fun sound. Loud distorted guitars, upbeat drumming, and the nice attempt at AM radio lyrics and vocal harmonies about girls and growing up, make this a great little number.
Although the overall sound is somewhat derivative (think late-70s, early-80s punk i.e. the Undertones), this song is still an exuberant single. The second song, ‘Waking Up the Enemy’, is good, but something of a filler. It certainly keeps the style of the single, but the ‘9 to 5’ back up lyrics and the wah-wah pedal wailing guitars are just a little too close to the D4’s ‘Exit to the City’ single.
The third and final track is ‘Meataxe’ (a cover provided by Auckland band the Rainy Days). The song opens with a reasonably quick and energetic drumbeat, and in the tradition of good old dumb rock bands the song is about idiots going to rock shows. It’s catchy, but Devil Gate Drive parade their influences on their sleeve. Still, considering that the oldest member of the band is twenty and the rest are in their late teens, a bit of derivation and teething are to be expected, and this single shows a lot of promise from a good, fun, and catchy rock’n’roll band.