When Ramoms’ first single (Problem Child) came out last year, I think that I came out both positively and honestly in my review of it, but I also think that I may have inadvertently understated the quality of what I heard. Yes, there was a great, straight out cover of a Ramones song present (“Rockaway Beach”), a great rewrite of a classic Ramones cut (“Blitzkrieg Bop,” rechristened “Boogie Not Snot”) and “Gritty Is A Punk” came close to almost sounding original – but there was unspoken, unsaid promise in that first single which did not get completely realized.
To be fair, the realization of Ramoms as a focused, full-formed entity doesn’t quite happen on the new Teacher’s Pet seven-inch either – but the single does make another giant leap toward that goal, just as its predecessor did.
In a lot of ways, the Teacher’s Pet single blasts into gear in much the same way that the Problem Child single did but with the added benefit of experience. As soon as a turntable’s needle catches the groove in “Going Into Third,” listeners will notice that the energy which radiates from Ramoms is more focused and honed; the tempo of the song is a little slower and the band moves with equal measures of pride and power instead of just blurring along on the strength of nervous energy, and the result is more anthemic. Here, the group feels as though they’ve already climbed the mountain and are just taking a second (or rather, two minutes and ten seconds)to admire the view. That rhythm endures through “The PTA Took My Mommy Away” (which sort of re-imagines “The KKK Took My Baby Away” from The Ramones’ Pleasant Dreams LP) but ends up coming a lot closer to The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” because the power Ramoms put into the song comes up as feeling more petulant than perilous. When the needle lifts from the side, listeners will find they’re definitely in to continue with the band onto the B-, but more because they’ve been hooked by vibes and attitude so obviously displayed here than they were by the novelties of “Ramones songs done for children by their mothers” as was the case on the band’s first single.
To round out the single, Ramoms travel backward and dust off the classic Ramones anthem “Beat on the Brat,”and play it straight and solidly. This is the best straight cover that Ramoms have released to date; Jodi Ramom doesn’t mug or parody her way through the song, she blasts her way along with the exact same kind of plastic soul that Joey Ramone used for his vocal in 1976. In that way, this version is simple, easy, speedy and respectful of the original, and it’s great for all of those reasons.
So, collected as it is here, yes – Ramoms’ second single is even more gratifying a listen than its predecessor was because it illustrates a few things: 1.) Ramoms are capable of showing depth as they redevelop their style and the sound that was obvious on their first single, 2.) They’re capable of holding and rewarding listeners’ attention easily and 3.) They illustrate here that while novelty is a keystone aspect of what they’re doing, listeners’ interest won’t wane with repeated servings. With all that in mind, what Ramoms are ready for now is to release a full-length album; they’ve proven they can pull it off.
The Teacher’s Pet 7” is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press. https://shop.piratespressrecords.com/collections/ramoms/products/ramoms-teachers-pet-7