Be Your Own Pet
Be Your Own Pet (2006)
One of the more curious things that has been happening lately is that many labels seem to spend at least a paragraph of each signing announcement talking about the age of their latest find; you've probably seen the clichÃ©s -- "barely out of high school" or "in their mid-teens" or "got their driver's license yesterday." I'm not sure what the goal of these is, perhaps it's a code to ask reviewers to cut the band some slack and just be impressed that an eighteen-year-old can play a power chord or that the band's vantage point is so small as to think music was invented in 1998 by Blink-182.
Be Your Own Pet is another one of those bands that came bundled with a press release stressing the young age of their members; but listening to their Ecstatic Peace! debut, Be Your Own Pet, you quickly realize that these kids have nothing to apologize for. Well-schooled in the garage rock of forebearers like the Stooges and the New Bomb Turks, the album is a veritable history lesson in classic punk rock and rock 'n' roll.
Much of course is also said about the band's rabid front-woman, the alternatingly adorable and acidic Jemina Pearl who coos, screams and swears her way through the album's admirably brief runtime. Of course, Pearl is backed by a similarly capable backing band who keep every dial up to 11, while drenched in a wonderfully raw production value which makes the "garage" part of garage rock perfectly clear.
The band name drops the Bad Brains who "totally rock" in "Let's Get Sandy," which runs at the kind of double-timed warp speed that would make those D.C. hardcore heroes proud. "Bunk Trunk Skunk" slows down long enough to let Pearl scream "I'm an independent motherfucker," dripping with pure aggression and attitude before the song kicks into faster gear.
The band's first video, "Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle" is probably the slowest track on the album, but is brimming with energy; "Adventure" and "Fuuunnn" are pure New Bomb Turks in the vein of the band's classic album, Destroy Oh Boy!; though the band dials things down towards the end of the record, it's only a relative lull and still bolstered by plenty of greak hooks.
While some comparisons have been drawn to the equally acerbic garage rock of the pre-major label Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Be Your Own Pet has a more direct lineage to straight-forward punk rock acts like the Turks and the Hot Snakes. Be Your Own Pet may be the subject of a great deal of hype these days, but it's well-deserved and even more remarkable given the tender age of the band. One of the most addictive releases of 2006.