The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Be Your Own Pet refuses to grow up on new album

Growing up sure is rough. Getting picked last for kickball, earning embarrassing nicknames the hard way, friendships bitterly ending after that secret crush becomes less of a secret; it’s a blast.

And while some may turn to therapy and drugs in an attempt to escape the past, others choose to embrace those memories and with white-knuckled enthusiasm. With youthful nihilism to spare and the release of its sophomore album “Get Awkward,” it’s safe to assume Be Your Own Pet fits in with the latter.

Hailing from Nashville, Tenn., these advocates for self-domestication have been crafting their own brand of guitar-driven, no-brakes punk for six years. Initially gaining popularity overseas through a series of seven-inch records and singles, these three lads and one lady quickly became a band to watch as audiences flocked to their much-heralded live shows. Soon after with the release of its frenetic and infectious self-titled debut, the group hasn’t looked back.

“Get Awkward” unapologetically picks up right where the group’s last effort left off. Seasick and sharp, lurching guitar licks collide with lead singer Jemina Abegg’s sassy snarl in “Black Hole” as she spits out couplets summing up the band’s philosophy: “Eating grits is really great/so is destroying everything you hate.”

And while that might paint the band as simple minds relying on the punk formula of short, fast songs, if anything it’s maturation. “Get Awkward” rarely dwells too long on any one aesthetic and relies significantly less on guitar acrobatics that could pass as the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Nick Zinner covering Black Flag.

Sure tracks like “Blow Yr Mind” and “Food Fight” still handle like taking a harrowing nosedive at freight-train speed, but that’s the point. Be Your Own Pet could care less about being the voice of a generation. And that’s brutally obvious. They’d much rather get in food fights and “just want to blow your mind/get stoned and wasted all the time.” It’s just this kind of seemingly superficial song that injects the kind of much-needed good-time, party-inducing punk that only youth can produce.

Other tunes, like the stop-and-start, upbeat neck-breaker “Bummer Time,” employ rigid time signatures and commanding drums while still maintaining the drive of rock. The contrasting “Bitches Leave” builds off a simplistic plucked riff, but by the time the song’s bridge hits it collapses into a wrenching and wailing solo, but only quickly enough to throw listeners off track again.

Other songs similarly take unexpected directions. Teenage revenge anthem “Becky” combines classic punk elements with ’50s rock ‘n’ roll and shake n’ slide guitar rhythms, creating a “Back to the Future” dance scene with a much more prominent knife fight. Complete with a chorus as vindictive as it is catchy, “Becky” stands out as one of the best songs the band has written yet.

If you can’t wait to get home and enjoy “Blow Yr Mind,” “Becky” and “Black Hole,” you’re out of luck. Universal Record’s lawyers have chosen to remove the songs from the U.S. release of “Get Awkward” as their themes are somehow too violent or lurid. In a market choking on endless songs glorifying the poor treatment of women, explicit drug use and graphic violence, it seems like either an incredibly naive power play or a great marketing strategy.

Either way, in the U.S. you’ll be forced to wait until this summer for a “special EP” to feature the removed songs. However, with “Get Awkward” flowing rather un-awkwardly and packing the kind of experienced punch absent from past releases, it seems many may just take a note from the band’s youthful exuberance and make the most out of what they have already. The true appreciators should stick around and besides, just as Abegg puts it, “Bitches Leave.”

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