Be Your Own Pet are a queerly named foursome from Nashville, TN. They are a band that will make you forget about Nashville stereotypes almost instantly; they are not the next big thing on the Grand Ole Opry stage, but more a red hot punk band at your local club. Far from the blubbering, southern republican country legends of Nashville artists past, Be Your Own Pet would seem a bit fish out of water, if you will, beneath Tennessee’s love-lorn full moon. The sound of Be Your Own Pet is pure New York Noise; they are a rarely seen Punk band straight out of the south, looking to make an underground splash. Except maybe one thing, they’ve already made a pretty big splash (being signed to a virtual Indie legend’s label doesn’t really hurt your credibility). If you haven’t witnessed Pet’s spastic live show, or heard one of the band’s singles you might as well, because people are predicting big things from these down-home destroyers
Probably the definition of Teen Age Riot, Be Your Own Pet released their debut on the ominous 6/6/06 with only a small cult following and a bunch of free 7”s. The band plays an earsplitting mix of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s style noise punk and Iggy Pop fueled garage rock. The guitars are distortion strangled and the rhythm section is absolutely ferocious, but one may find that all they pay attention to is Lead Girl, Jemina Pearl’s obnoxiously rebellious lyrics. But with lyrics as sexed up as something like
Originally Posted by Bunk Trunk Skunk
I am an independent mother ***er
And I'm here to take your money
I'm wicked rad and I'm here
To steal away your virginity
I guess it’s hard not to notice them over the fury of a hundred
power chords. Jemina would probably be the most interesting woman in rock music today if it weren’t for girls like [Yeah Yeah Yeah] Karen O. and [Dresden Doll] Amanda Palmer coming a few years prior. Still, it’s pretty incredible (and hot) to hear a young girl scream obscenities at the top of her lungs. And her lyrics can be very creative.
But this doesn’t mean the band is at all a back up project to little Ms. Pearl. Unlike groups like No Doubt, the guitar, bass and drums don’t work as a backing track to the vocals, but form their own entity in many ways. Guitarist Jonas Stein puts an interesting spin on the standard punk guitar style, sliding chords up and down the neck like it was no ones business. His style and credibility shows the mark of a guitar newbie, but his fire breathing tone and live confidence say otherwise. His squealing riff throughout album highlight, Wildcat! is as catchy as it is abrasive, making it’s point sonically, but (as dumb as it sounds) making an even bigger impression when it drops out to reveal BYOP’s hardworking rhythm section, with it’s pounding fills and slightly distorted bass rumblings. Surprisingly melodic vocals from Jemina make for an almost incredible display of modern age Noise Rock.
Unfortunately this is where the fallout begins to happen to Be Your Own Pet. After Wildcat! the album’s tracks begin to fall into a somewhat predictable mold of fast guitars and searing vocals. Though Jemina’s takes on Reality TV (Girls on TV) and drug fueled murder (Bog) are nothing short of entertaining, the hooks are all but gone and the music is hardly there to back it up. Jonas’s previously mentioned punk prowess has pretty much dried up by this time, as songs speed on through with fairly standard power chords and tired and true melodies. Fortunately the album picks up in an October, First Account, a less than hardcore ballad-time indie tune. The tasteful guitar strumming contrasts beautifully to drummer Jamin Orral’s pounding rhythm. Though hard to hear at points even bassist, Nathan Vasquez gets an occasional lick into the mess. The final moments of the album give me an impression of a sloppy garaged out Sonic Youth on speed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve heard much better punk songs in my day. For me the album’s bad songs are sort of sandwiched between the good ones. This makes it so, while the good ones are great, the album seems really boring at times. For a band getting such big press, Be Your Own Pet are a pretty big disappointment. They can write a brilliant song here and there, but maybe they’re just too young for their own good. A fairly disappointing 2.5/5 for me.