Be Your Own Pet
(Ecstatic Peace!/ Universal)
Lock up your sons: Charismatic Nashville teen heroine Jemima Pearl is coming for their innocence.
Nashville's Be Your Own Pet are a good argument that originality in rock is overrated. Their rough-and-tumble brand of brat punk owes a considerable debt to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Plazmatics, X-Ray Spex, and -- as they proclaim in one song -- Bad Brains. Nevertheless, for all its familiarity, their eponymous debut -- the first release from Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore's new Ecstatic Peace! label -- is a half-hour teenage riot that starts loud and snotty and never lets up.
It helps that all four members are under 20, with the youngest -- bassist Nathan Vasquez -- only 16. Like all good DIYers, they prize enthusiasm and attitude over technical skill, so there's not much variation among these 15 songs: All of them hit the same tempo and fall well under the three-minute mark. Most start with Jamin Orrall pounding out a simple, martial beat. Then the pogoing guitars set in, and by the time singer Jemima Pearl comes in, the song loses whatever sense of restraint it pretended to have and explodes in all directions at once.
On every song, this potty-mouthed and charismatic indie heroine screeches mightily, launching into a Valley Girl patois on "Adventure" and actually singing somewhat sweetly on "October, First Account." But her real forte is clever brashness: "I'm an independent motherfucker!" she proclaims on "Bunk Trunk Skunk," "and I'm here to steal away your virginity!" Mothers, lock up your sons.
As outrageous as Pearl can be, Be Your Own Pet always has the feel of a real band, not just a charismatic teenager and her backing musicians. And, of course, being teenagers, they have a lot more energy and stamina than many of their listeners, so even though the album can be a tiring listen, they know enough to save "Ouch," an ode to Dawn of the Dead, for last. -- Stephen DeusnerGrade: A-