Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Record Review: Be Your Own Pet

Who said all the DIY punk rock that's out these days blows? Oh, it was me. Ok I take it back, but not until I heard the debut album by be your own PET. This group of young rockers have an amazing sound, which is all at once haphazard and right on the mark. As you listen to the 35 minutes of music divvied out to the 15 tracks on the album you get the feeling that Jemina, Jamin, Jonas and Nathan are on the verge of tearing the studio down.

Their tracks have all of the power and helter-skelter inertia of a bull on acid, but there is more to byoP. This group of art school class mates are not a bunch of dirtbag nosepickers from the back of the class room who scamper back to the trailer park to write their tunes. No, indeed, these four are second generation success stories, which doesn't detract from their overall product. All four member's fathers are successful in their Fields such as Photography, Music, and Art.

This could have been the death knell for byoP, in much the same fashion as it looks like it was for The Like, an all girl Cali band who all have famous dads. While I enjoyed their first record "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" it came off as too well done. Too Clean, too influenced by their famous dads no matter how many stories I read about how they made it on their own with no help from their progenitors in the music biz. With byoP there is a certain dirty, honest feel to all the tracks on the record, which is not to say the record is poorly produced or recorded, which it is not. With Indie god Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth as their mentor, the pets gave birth to a record that has an organic feel while featuring all the polish of a big label release.

The stand out tracks here are hard to separate from the merely great ones. I have be your own PET as the number one record of the year on my on going list, so my praise will be effusive if I linger upon each song too long, so I'll cut to the quick. It is almost as if the first four songs on the record are meant to be played together, and they all feature a similar kick drum line that ties them to one another. If you let the record play you will find that "Thresher's Flail" flows in right into "Bunk Trunk Skunk" with the use of a loud percussion break which is actually the begging of the second track. 1:28 later the kick drum is all that is left as "Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle" starts. This song features one of my favorite lines on the record as Jemina seems to warn "Have fun... but be safe with it." before turning the tables by adding "Just kidding. Fuck shit up!" As this the third track ends the bass kicks in with the same tempo kick drum to lead off track 4, "Wild Cat!" Here Abegg's voice shines and is amazingly set off by Jonas Stein's lead guitar.

The middle of the short, yet powerful, disc is where I really fell in love. "Adventure" is a foot stomping, head banging good time. The more I listened to it, the more I came to love, not loath the use of the word "like" as an interjection, as I had upon first glance. "Ok see, yeah, cause we're like, adventures" sounded a bit too much like mall speak to this 30 year old at first, but then I began to love it's honesty and playfulness. For my money, the best track on the record is #8 "Bog" which is another powerhouse crammed into less time then a TV commercial break. "Wanna kitty cat, my boy friend wants dog, we got into a fight I drown him in the bog" purrs Abegg to the great up tempo pace of the tune. This song is an A+ track on an A+ record.

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