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Be Your Own Pet
Be Your Own Pet
Ecstatic Peace/ Universal Records

Punk rockers Be Your Own Pet, originally from Nashville, Tennessee, first hit record stores in the UK last year when their singles "Fire Department" and "Damn Damn Leash," were released on Rough Trade in the UK. Rough Trade discovered Be Your Own Pet in 2004 playing the CMJ Marathon in New York City and at SXSW in Austin, Texas, performing songs from their CD-R Damn Damn Leash. Their singles caught the attention of Sonic Youth's guitarist, Thurston Moore, who signed the band to his record label, Ecstatic Peace. The band's debut full-length self-titled album, produced by Steve McDonald of Red Kross, was released on June 6, 2006 the same day The Omen hit movie theaters.

Like The Omen, there is an animalistic snarl in the ferocious guitar riffs and a savage sizzle in the stomping rhythm sections. Their music has all the characteristics of power pop punk with frenzied thruways similar to artists like Tiger Army, Anti-Flag, The Soviettes, and The Dead Kennedys. Their album is good value for the price with 15 songs that growl, thunder, and heat up like a wild house party with gauges that pull on the reins when the fervor gets too out of control.

Taming the wildness are the vocal melodies of 19 year old lead singer Jemina Pearl-Abregg whose band buddies, 18 year old Nathan Vasquez on bass, 19 year old Jonas Stein on guitar, and 18 year old Jamin Orral on drums, produce rugged chord textures roped by thick, agile rhythmic motions. The electric surges implanted in the passages act as an accelerating agent, speeding up the tempo like in their songs "Thresher's Flail" and "Stairway To Heaven." The band activates a gyrating motion by creating furious guitar tapping effects and deep toned bass and drum punches. The sequences rotate savagely, accelerating the throttle with each turn like in the track "Let's Get Sandy (Big Problem)", until the frequencies spin themselves to a point of saturation when the motor fizzles out, becoming sedate and releasing the coiling motions. The motor starts up again with the next track, building up momentum, spinning furiously until the chorus is exhausted and then waning down the speed in the outro.

The album closes like it began: with racing flares, thick echoing effects, and whipping vocals that thrash liberally and heat up the flow of the melodies with lyrical content that is bold and brash. The vocals color outside the lines on the mid-tempo tune "Adventure", with a seductive voicing like the siren's lull of songstress Lana Turner, all the while surrounded by a tamed jungle of bongo beats.

Be Your Own Pet takes power pop punk arrangements and spins them furiously, draws friction across their lines, builds tension and coiling motions, and releases the tightness that's been amassed. The band's savage sizzle dotted by trumping drum fills creates a furnace of molten sound waves tamed by vocals that direct the music's frequency.

Be Your Own Pet are making power pop punk vibrations fashionable. They will be touring across North America through 2006 and releasing singles from their self-titled album.

-Susan Frances

1. Thresher's Flail
2. Bunk Trunk Skunk
3. Bicycle Bicycle, Your Are My Bicycle
4. Wildcat
5. Adventure
6. Fuuuuuuun
7. Stairway To Heaven
8. Bog
9. Girls on TV
10. We Will Vacation, You Can Be My Parasol
11. Let's Get Sandy (Big Problem)
12. October, First Account
13. Love Your Shotgun
14. Fill My Pill
15. OUCH

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