Be Your Own Pet
Not so much an album as a stampede of songs, Be Your Own Pet's first full-length serves up more of the bratty, chaotic garage
oise/pop that made the band's EPs a sensation in the U.K. Actually, it's not surprising that Be Your Own Pet found fans there early on; not only does the group have the garage rock sass that the U.K. has been partial to for most of the 2000s, it also possesses a cute but prickly vibe that's similar to British indie bands like This Is Teen-C Power!-era Bis and KaitO. Comparisons have also been made to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' early, no-holds-barred sound, and while Be Your Own Pet has only a fraction of that band's arty menace and freewheeling sexuality, BYOP's frontwoman Jemina Pearl can snarl and wail just as furiously as the YYYs' Karen O. However, when Pearl squeals "We're on two wheels, baby!" on "Bicycle Bicycle, You Are My Bicycle" or insists "I'm not sorry!" on "Bog" -- a song about taking Xanax and drowning a boyfriend -- the effect is more playful than predatory. Indeed, Be Your Own Pet is full of so much manic glee that the band just can't contain itself: Pearl kicks off the album by howling "I've never had so much fun!" on "Thresher's Flail" and shouting "We wanna be friends with you!" with so much force on "Fuuuuuun" that it sounds more like a demand than a request. The pop-rocks-and-soda sugar buzz of the band's thrashy guitars and crashing drums (and of course, Pearl's vocals) is thrilling, especially on "Wildcat!" and "Girls on TV," and underneath all the noise, there are witty and surprising lyrics throughout the album -- "Love Your Shotgun" rhymes "riot" with "room at the Hyatt." However, Be Your Own Pet's breathless, breakneck overload ends up being the band's greatest strength and weakness. Their songs are wind sprints, not marathons, and listening to a full album of them can be a little exhausting. Still, there's something transcendent in their best tantrums: "October, First Account" has a charming sense of wonder; "We Will Vacation, You Can Be My Parasol" adds some more control to BYOP's onslaughts; and the "elegant rubble" of "Adventure" shows that the band can be a little more complex and thoughtful without sacrificing any of its youthful energy. Even though Be Your Own Pet were more consistent, or maybe just easier to keep up with, on their EPs, there's still plenty of hyperactive fun (or rather, fuuuuuun) to be found here.