In the sixty-ish years rock music has been alive, it’s come a long way from the “Gee wiz, I love you to the point where I suppose I should sing a song about it” and “You broke up with me and I now have sadness as a result” lyrical binary. This modern age has bestowed new complexities (and complications) upon relationships and the rock genre alike. Ann Arbor natives Pity Sex are a band that have channeled these concepts in their first LP, Feast of Love, creating a record with music and lyrics that appeal to people in a super-specific type of relationship. Can you guess what type that might be? (Hint: the band is called Pity Sex.)
Feast of Love is a 10 song, 28 minute hangover from a blurry amalgam of misinterpreted one-night-stands and shameful mornings after. If you’re an unfortunate soul who is sick of waking up to a residual warm spot in an otherwise empty bed, rejoice! This is the perfect album to aid you in spiraling downward towards catharsis! However, if you find yourself frequently sneaking out of unfamiliar bedrooms at 7am, beware! This album will only plague your conscience with more guilt and self-loathing! Everyone on this record hates themselves. They hate each other. They probably hate you too.
Lyrically, Pity Sex is brilliant at conveying the exact tone they desire. They mashup raw, carnal utterings with painful proclamations of love and despair. It’s sexy and sad. Their ability to elicit such an empathetic response is something that must be experienced firsthand. If it’s any testament to their skill, I myself have never had the misfortune of partaking in a meaningless, spiteful decathlon of sex and regret, and yet there I was, listening to the album, feeling dirty, caressing the makeup stains on my pillowcase, trying to remember the ghost of the woman that left them there, crying. Is that what people do? See? I have no idea. Anyway, by the end of the record, I learned that it is actually possible to be both sexually pent up but also too drained and jaded to do anything about it.
Musically, you’ve heard everything on this album before. Guitars crunch and chug with fuzzy lethargy, bass hums carelessly, and the drummer beats the hell out of his kit. Sometimes, this early 90s rock sound is refreshing. The only respite from Pity Sex’s relentless hammering is if you’re using Spotify Free and a cheerful ad pops up between two songs, and if that happens, Feast of Love will make you want to tell that acoustic guitar-playing goon to piss off (if you don’t feel that way about Spotify ads already). Regrettably, this nostalgic wall of noise drowns out the vocals of Kim Gordon-Kim Deal hybrid Britty Drake and Brennan Greaves’ bitter droning. This isn’t a pun about the record’s third song, “Drown Me Out”, either. Even after three listens, I had to pull up the record’s lyrics online for this review. Pity Sex’s lyrics and vocals are what separates them from the typical, simplistic guitar rock genre; hopefully they take this into consideration next time around.
On the whole, Feast of Love is easy enough to listen to regardless of who you are, but I feel that to fully appreciate the intricacies of Pity Sex’s work, you should have it ready on your iPod for the next “walk of shame” back to your dorm. For a happily taken guy like me, I could see the record as the perfect soundtrack for spending a Sunday morning on the cold tile of a bathroom floor, arms wrapped around a toilet full of cheap beer and half-digested Taco Bell. Honestly though, the scandal and filth are charming qualities of the album. Then again, I suppose you could be a happy and healthy Pity Sex fan and just have an empathetic and imaginative attitude towards music. I don’t know; maybe personally, I need to stick to to artists with lyrics I can understand. You know, like Beck and David Bowie.
Written by Kevin Glide
Photo Credit: http://www.runforcoverrecords.com/home.php