Be Your Own Pet are those misfit kids at your high school that even the principal avoided, and for good reason — he’d probably have had his ass handed to him daily. On their sophomore album, “Get Awkward,” BYOP delivers catchy garage noise rock made up of concentrated bursts of energy, like shell shots from a sawed-off shotgun. Gritty and punkish, the band makes it well known that they are not above good-natured debauchery and destruction.
Following their self-titled debut, the Nashville natives have developed a higher degree of sophistication in their music, which still isn’t saying much. The guitar progressions have become slightly more intricate and expressive, and the songs appear to be more calculated in their delivery, but overall the crude and disorderly approach has remained the same.
The music finds an interesting niche of impish authenticity, displaying some of the chaotic nuances pioneered by the Stooges and Black Flag. Surely, Iggy Pop and Henry Rollins would be pleased by BYOP’s frenzied disposition.
Frontwoman Jemina Pearl clearly commands the scene, delivering angry allegations and wisecracks. On the aptly named “Twisted Nerve,” she blurts out, “Rip out my hair/ Wish that it’s yours/ Cut my own skin/ Pretend that it’s yours” with a fiery playfulness that is nonetheless intimidating. Listening to the mockery-ridden “Bitches Leave,” one visualizes Pearl taking the closest “It girl” by the neck and slamming her face into the bar counter.
BYOP’s subject matter continues to be comprised of youthful endeavors and anguishes, as well as some humorous scenarios. The band’s members are all 20 or so, and they revel in their immaturity. Pearl gleefully shovels her juvenile ponderings like dirt into the listener’s mouth, all while celebrating the benefits of irresponsibility. Take for instance the maturity-bashing anthem, “Super Soaked,” where Pearl shrieks, “I just want to run around/ I just want to party down!” Another adolescent track, “Food Fight,” envisions a cafeteria battleground, “Hot dog, mustard in your hair/ Sucks for the janitor!” The boys occasionally back Pearl with impassioned hollers and shouts, evidently inciting the teenage masses to rise up against their adult oppressors.
Obviously, subtlety and depth are not BYOP’s weapons of choices. However, the band briskly digress from their typical theme with “The Kelly Affair,” an account of an up-and-coming band getting caught up in the partying lifestyle: Perhaps a curt illustration of BYOP’s own condition, or an expose of the lime-lighted life in Hollywood?
Most of the songs on the album are brief, blunt eruptions of frustrated emotions and vigorous snarls. The music is ferociously fast-paced and feral to the point that it is difficult to know when the tracks start and end, inadvertently leaving the music to blend together into a smorgasbord of intense boisterousness.
By the end of the album, the listener is left wondering how much Red Bull the band drank between takes (probably barrels full).
A word from the wise to any club proprietor planning to host a BYOP concert: Nail down all the furniture. If not, don’t be surprised if a bar stool is thrown through the window.