'Growing Up' by The Linda Lindas Album review by Adam Williams. The Los Angeles band's full-length is out today via Epitaph and DSPs

Epitaph Records

8

The Linda Lindas

Growing Up

I think I speak for the majority of us when I say, when we were between the ages of 11 and 17, we weren’t in a punk band with our friends, supporting the likes of Bikini Kill, starring in films and had a debut album out on Epitaph? No? Didn’t think so. The Linda Lindas have been doing the rounds since 2018, making a youthfully exuberant pop-punk racket, with all the giddy ups and downs you’d expect from a group who aren’t old enough to drink legally yet.

It was last year they found themselves catapulted into the limelight with their performance at the LA Public Library that was circulated online and most notably their song ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’; a track manifested as a reaction to a classmate saying people should “stay away from Chinese people” due to the Covid pandemic. Let it be said, The Linda Lindas, in under two minutes, reacted with the most perfect retort to any form of discrimination enrobed in a beautiful discordant punk melee. Worldwide praise ensued, a tonne of views on Instagram (four million and counting) and praise from the likes of Hayley Williams, Rage Against The Machine and Sonic Youth. A month later the foursome set to work on their first long player, the aptly titled ‘Growing Up’.

The Linda Lindas have flawlessly distilled the rollercoaster of emotions that ripple through our formative years. ‘Growing Up’ is the sound of four friends making great music together, expressing themselves and documenting an unusual yet relatable time (relatable because we’ve all been young’uns finding ourselves in the world…but we’re not all talented musicians with global notoriety). The feeling of adolescent frustration isn’t something lost on group – consisting of drummer Mila de la Garza (11), her sister Lucia on guitar (14), their cousin Eloise Wong who plays bass (13) and family friend Bela Salazar who also plays guitar (17) – as many tracks focus on those all too familiar growing pains. That said, with youthful woes backed by their own brand of punk, which snares in elements of power-pop, new wave and rock-tropes, you can’t help but nod and smile along with ‘Growing Up’ with a knowing “yep, been there my friends” acknowledgement. ‘Oh!’ springboards the four piece’s debut offering into action, fired up by drum machine-led pop-rock. The chugging motifs and gang chants of the track’s moniker ripple with a punk fidgetiness, while helpless lyrics frame the annoyance of being overlooked as a young person “what can I do/what can I do/what can I say/what can I say/nothing changes/it’s all the same”. ‘Fine’ is an agitated reaction to the feeling of being ignore “you hear the shouting but you say it’s absurd/the things you say are more than just words/you keep on talking/you think its fine”. ‘Magic’ jitters with an angst-flecked irritation of wanting to be recognised while also wanting to skirt under the social surface “If I was invisible/no-one would judge me for wanting to be by myself/but I’m already invisible now/without anybody else’s help”.

There’s never a ‘woe is me’ feeling with ‘Growing Up’, despite the blatant nods to the aches and pains of, well, growing up. Sonically the record is fun and there’s several occurrences where the quartet joyfully embrace their youthfulness, none more so than on the record’s titular track. Via a quiet/loud shifting rock dynamic, the band rattle through a wonderful call to arms of “what it means to be young and growing up”. The song is littered with lovely kindred sentiments like “we can take turns taking the reins/lean on each other when we need some extra strength/we’ll never cave or we’ll never waver/and we’ll always become braver and braver.” ‘Remember’s grungy tones encase an optimistic frame of mind that tomorrow will be a better day and today’s annoyances will be whispers on the wind. If it’s playfulness you’re after, you’re in luck, there’s a song about a cat called ‘Nino’. Clearly Nino is an accomplished apex predator “I have a cat/his name is Nino/he’s a savage cat/a killer of mice and rats.” But like most felines, he’s a multifaceted good boy, “friendliest cat you’ll meet/he’ll protect you with all his might”. ‘Growing Up’ is capped off by the song that (almost) started it all ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’. The track listing works a charm; think of the album more like a live show, with the band’s most recognisable song waiting in the wings to provide a defiant full stop to a stellar record. Growing Up can be tough, we all know that and The Linda Lindas have encapsulated the rush of hormones and all that comes with it perfectly.

Order Growing Up by The Lina Lindas HERE