Music Review: Be Your Own PET, “Get Awkward” (Ecstatic Peace) (***1/2)
Snarling, teenage Nashville pop-punks Be Your Own Pet bounded out of the kennel in 2006 with their self-titled debut, and it was a gloriously ramshackle mess. Feral child Jemina Pearl does not sing as much as she rants, doing so in front of a band that barrels forward, breaks down and explodes at will.
As a title, “Get Awkward” is misleading, since BYOP sounds much more assured on this follow-up collection. Hanging 10 on a surf-punk wave, the teenage mayhem anthem “Super Soaked” plays like the flip side of the Dead Kennedys’ “Police Truck,” and “The Kelly Affair” is possibly a great indictment of San Fernando Valley teen parties or a condensed version of “Valley of the Dolls.” Either way, it is extravagant, brink-of-disaster madness.
Produced by Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, “Get Awkward” never loses energy and bassist Nathan Vasquez, guitarist Jonas Stein and drummer John Eatherly only downshift for the power-pop anthem “You’re a Waste.” Its best moments are its most unhinged — the titles “Bummer Time” and “Food Fight” say it all. Pearl shouts and squeals like a less art-damaged Karen O, and her caterwauling in Be Your Own Pet makes “Get Awkward” a strong case against maturity in rock.
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