While Mom Jeans' debut 'Best Buds' remains a go-to classic of the dying embers of the emo revival, follow-up 'Puppy Love' had all the traits of the dreaded 'difficult second album', with the band struggling to define their sound and show progress.
However, 'Sweet Tooth' is a blistering retort to the naysayers, with Mom Jeans finding a fun-filled early noughties pop-punk seam and mining it consistently for inspiration.
Not that they're the first to find such a brilliant idea recently. For example, New Jersey's Save Face delivered a sterling homage to My Chemical Romance with their excellent 2021 record, 'Another Kill For The Highlight Reel'. So perhaps it's no surprise these bands are looking back – there's gold dust sprinkled throughout the early-mid noughties pop-punk sound, after all. But, while Save Face were somewhat slavish in their devotion, Mom Jeans are musical magpies, pulling in dozens of different influences from the era.
Most notably, the likes of Weezer, Sum 41, Blink 182 and Third Eye Blind can all be heard as distant echoes on 'Sweet Tooth' – even if it remains, unmistakably, a Mom Jeans record. 'Crybaby (On the Phone)', for example, has all the chaotic exuberance you'd expect from a band that's a staple of Florida's Fest – but elsewhere there are also some razor-sharp pop-punk hits that forego Mom Jeans' traditional knotty sound. This is especially true on 'Anime Theme Song' and 'What's Up', where the riffs are so saccharine sweet they could cause hyperglycaemia.
And while these pop-punk numbers excite, it's in the mid-paced moments that Mom Jeans hit new heights. The one-two of 'Tie Dye Acid Trip' and 'Ten Minutes' might just be Mom Jeans' finest moment to date, bringing vocalist Eric Butler's vulnerability to the fore. The latter, in particular, is the gooey core of a record and a genuine banner moment for the band.
By paying a tithe to the gods of pop-punk's past, Mom Jeans have found the necessary inspiration to take their sound forward with spectacular – and sweetly-satisfying – results.