Have the Nashville foursome returned with a second album full of the nihilistic, ADD snippets of punk we’ve come to expect? Or instead, have they developed into something else? The answer lies somewhere between the two…
Jemima Pearl is a snarling frontwoman, and it’s hard to believe she’s still only 20. And in the short while since the self-titled debut, Be Your Own Pet have tried to make a record less disposable but still containing the very same teenage frustrations and daily irks – this record is as catchy but tracks like ‘What’s Your Damage’ grow tiresome after having been exposed to the harsh garage for two long-players.
‘Get Awkward’ is generally far more melodic than the debut, best seen on third track ‘Heart Throb’, a paean to a guy who won’t show any emotion - the all-out thrash has been sacrificed a tad in favour of chord structures, reflection and more eloquent anger. ‘Becky’ sounds like an underage ‘Locomotion’, making it clear that BYOP have got tuneful tunes now – and it’s a comical three minutes to boot. The songs are longer like ‘Bunk Trunk Skunk’ on the first record, but that’s not to say that the fun’s been done away with – former beaus, party scenes and high school cliques are dealt with in the same frenzied fashion.
It’s not as striking as the debut, and that’s due to a lose-lose situation: Be Your Own Pet either go with more of the same and bore everyone other than the hardcore fans, or go avant-garde and completely lose their identity. Pearl et al have matured technically, although it’s difficult to see unless you look closer into the conceit. The collection hasn’t lost its punk throwaway and in fact has ended up being more disposable than the debut – though if it means that more people discover BYOP, it’ll be worth it.