by Jordan Reyes (@jpreyes90)
On their debut full-length, Washington, D.C. postpunk trio Puff Pieces brandishes wit and whimsy to inspect cultural phenomena like gentrification, wealth accumulation, and Sisyphean living. On “Money,” a throbbing two-minute nugget, Mike Andre’s lilting sing-song vocals highlight the parallels between autopilot living, financial needs, and boredom. “What a snore/What a chore/What a chore/Such a bore,” he laments in the closing lines, having meditated earlier on the energy and mental burden dedicated to just treading water – see, even though the hustle is constant, the forward mobility isn’t – it’s sort of like digging yourself out of a hole when what you’ve got is a shovel and all the time in the world.
Highlighting absurdity with humor, Puff Pieces named their LP Bland in D.C., obviously a nod to the city’s historic punk roots, and its ever-present political and economic hum. In an earlier piece on the band from American University’s WAMU, drummer Amanda Huron explains the title: “Mike was walking to work one bright spring day amongst hordes of eager young professionals when the phrase ‘Bland in D.C.’ first crossed his mind. It seemed to perfectly encapsulate how we’ve been feeling about D.C., and being punks in D.C., and being in a band here.” It’s a mistake to confuse blandness with hopelessness, and artistic expression is necessarily optimistic, even when it underscores unrest or malaise. Bland in D.C. is far from disenchanted – though a small blow in the grand scheme, Puff Pieces land a poignant slap in the face of cyclicality.
Bland in D.C. is out April 1 on Lovitt Records.