Piss Test - Piss Test (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Piss Test

Piss Test (2017)

Dirt Cult records

                There are numerous bands that try and recapture the energy and raw emotion of eighties punk music, in most instances while the bands are able to recapture the basic sound. They often come off sounding overly rehearsed; this isn’t to say they sound bad. Rather, they sound like they fine-tuned their sound to the point the feeling was refined in a studio rather than arrived at naturally. Piss Test is a band that avoids this, as they recapture the feeling of bands like The Wipers and early Mudhoney on their most recent eponymous release.

“Marianne” is a vitriolic opener that sets the feel for the album. Featuring riffs that are catchy while also having plenty of raw energy, the song captures the tale of two people living together in an apartment complex that’s being sold out from under its two residents, the titular character of the song decides to stay after they’re told to leave. The song also features raw lead vocals and killer female back vocals. The emotion that goes into the music and vocals is apparent, and thankfully the band is letting it be captured by someone who isn’t going to try and over produce their sound and clean it up.

The next track on the album finds the female vocals moving to lead, with great success. “Talkin’ Shit” is a song that does just that, feeling like a holdover from the mid-nineties riot grrl era. The song wouldn’t have been out of place on Bikini Kill’s later albums or on the Heavens to Betsy album. While not quite a full front middle finger to the patriarchy as some of those bands’ more memorable material. Every ounce of anger and passion is still there, and once again the guitar and vocal energy is unmatched by most bands in today’s punk scene

Elsewhere on the album, songs like “Nerd Zoo”, “Arizona Cops”, and “Teenager” keep the feel of the album alive. Every track finds the band in full crescendo not letting the energy, or volume, lapse for a minute. While there are instances where that wages war on my ears these days, it’s often because the band is using those two elements to cover for the fact they can’t write a decent song. Piss Test doesn’t sacrifice song writing at any point on this album; and twenty-five to thirty years ago they would have been exactly the kind of band poised to find their way onto the alternative charts or MTV’s 120 Minutes.

What I find as strength, may be faulted by some other listeners looking for a bit more variety in song writing. But, nobody is going to be able to fault this band for the way the album sounds. Every ounce of energy and passion is captured in a raw state. And it shows, there isn’t a lot of music being released these days that sounds this honest. Frequently, a band will over either over produce them or sign off on doing it for them. Piss Test doesn’t fall into that trap though, don’t get me wrong the album sounds great, but it doesn’t sound like its bit pitch corrected or overly inspected. This is one of those albums that capture your attention, because it demands to be noticed. And it’s deserving of every ounce of attention you give it.