The second album from retro garage-punk enthusiasts the Heartaches brims with such unpretentious snot-rock giddiness that it's close to impossible for sympathetic listeners not to get swept up in its three-chord fun. Stripped-down primal punk tunes like "Teenage Hypochondriac" and "King Kong's Party" are delivered with attitude instead of style: this isn't an attempt to perfectly re-create the sound of the Nuggets box, but the work of five kids channeling the spirit of the Standells, Chocolate Watchband, and other Beatles-booted mid-'60s teenagers into the pop-punk sound of today. It works beautifully throughout this relatively brief 14-song album; even songs as studiedly '60s-inspired as the lovestruck "Outta My Head" (or the yelping cover of Love's "Seven and Seven Is") breathe with a current vitality. There is no deeper meaning to Too Cool for School, just an unabashed joy in the energy and sheer adolescent fun of the best garage and punk music.
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