by Stephen Veith (@Quakeroats91)
Pet is a band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a rock and roll band that has self-released their first record Ten Thousand Years. Putting aside all of the sub-genres and attempting to codify something for the sake of codification, deep down to the core, they are a rock band, and to be honest, that’s all they’re trying to be. A band that makes engaging, catchy, rock music. Sure, there are fuzzy guitars, moments of punk – and I agree music is subjective, but at the end of the day they are not the Ramones chanting to three chord progressions nor My Bloody Valentine careening over ever elongated fuzz drawl that will fix you emotionally. This is a rock band. They're here to be heard, and they’re here to be heard loud. Above all, they’re here to do what they want regardless of what the hottest music blogs and critics are deeming cool at the time. For that, I give them the utmost respect, and on Ten Thousand Years, they dial in on this objective and hit a bullseye. This concept is obvious and accomplished with driving power behind each song.
With the majority of the songs clocking in under three minutes, each track is compact, filled to the brim with engaging vocals, wild guitar parts and catchy basslines, all backed by some seriously impressive drumming. Its a shorter record than your usual thirteen song, four minutes a track, type of release most bands put out today, which truly works for their sound, compacting each song down into tasters of their potential. The anthemic “I Don’t Want to Be Cool” begins the record on a high note and is undeniable one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard all year. Tracks such as “Got No Time” through the end of the record truly reinforce this driving spirit with galloping drums, fuzzy guitars and thumping basslines to keep the songs not only moving along but charging alone.
There are some distinct and beautiful breaks in the record, such as “Obsessed,” a lo-fi almost-ballad featuring twinkling guitars. Backed by distant drums and the sound of a tape recording - all walked along by a bassline that grounds the whole track as it slowly climbs up the loudness latter and then down once more to just hear the tape loop running with distant high-hat hits and lowly bass drum thuds. This beauty and tranquility quickly takes a 180-degree turn, with "Gloria" starting like a an old car with a shot muffler, directly in your face and loud as hell, only to recede into a further broken down bridge. Hushed vocals and a whining guitar play while someone is yelping aggressively in the background, a good testament to Pet’s creative song structure and their unique recording style.
The last four songs on the record exemplify Pet's control of their willing loudness paired with moments of intended contrast by quieter moments. On “Froggy Wondering” this style reaches its height – dynamic, solid vocal melodies create a crescendo into a fuzz-laden jam that almost forcibly causes your head to nod in unison, only to break into a bass solo. “Green Heart” is the most unique song on the record; scratchy acoustic guitar, drums, bass, and as the lead singer Mike would say, a “tender” vocal track on top to form a relaxing love song, a nice departure from the attack on the ears the rest the album (that I accept with open arms) provides. The final track is a cacophonous mash of sounds clocking in at just over thirteen minutes, part of which being complete silence behind a chorus effected guitar epilogue.
This record is admittedly one of my favorites of last year; it’s not over done, no gimmicks, it’s not an enigma for you to figure out. It's straight and in your face, with undeniably good guitar, bass, and drums paired with very solid melodies and transitions between songs. As a first full release it doesn’t get much better than this.