Personal and the Pizzas - Diet, Crime & Delinquency [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Personal and the Pizzas

Diet, Crime & Delinquency [7-inch] (2011)

Oops Baby! Records

While Personal and the Pizzas may have once been a "gimmick band," on their latest EP, Diest, Crime & Delinquency, they prove that the gimmick is now irrelevant.

While P + the P's earliest recordings were a tribute to the Stooges and Ramones, borrowing liberally from the riffs (and photography) of both bands, they never quite seemed to be merely an appreciate circle. Rather, it seemed that through self-aware aping, they were trying to harness the golden age of '70s rock where bands kicked out the jams, but were supported by solid songwriting.

Diet, Crime & Delinquency does just that. The band has evolved to the point where their songs can't necessary be pinned down to a particular influence. But, as the band cuts through the energetic tune supported by a siren-like riff that allows their gang vocals to come crashing down in a mix of bravado and sloppiness. Interestingly, because the band is so concerned with keeping rhythm amongst the rapid guitar slashing, the circular chorus almost echos back to the Newbeats' "Bread and Butter."

The A-side's second track, "Brain Damage," might be the best song the band has recorded to date. Although it's simple in construction, through clanging guitar tone and vocals that start way above the music only to submerge by the end, the band announces how they hope to get permanently injured. Like the Ramones, the call to self destruction masks desperation with a joyous delivery, giving simple lines multiple levels.

"Bored Out of My Brains", the B-side, features the band further exploring the AM side of the dial, as was hinted on by their last seven-inch Dead Meat. Supported by a heavily thumbed acoustic riff and carried with an airy electric guitar rhythm, the band creates a sunny sound that allows the band to keep their "tough guy" image despite the relative softness of the song's sound.

While gimmick bands often find themselves trapped by what drew them attention in the first place, it seems that Personal and the Pizzas are able to circumvent this roadblock. Their gimmick might have made them noticeable, but it's not the core of their identity, and it's certainly not what makes them special. That would be their ability to masterfully write songs in the classic formula while sounding fresh.