Aside from the deaf or those in a level of denial up there with David Irving’s idiot pronouncements on the Holocaust, everyone’s aware that we live in great times for music. But while rock has been bursting forth with boys ready to put a foot on a monitor, the only woman of this decade to make waves has been Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Until now, that is.
Largely, it was Karen O who inspired the latest crop of great girl-rock bands (including The Like, The Long Blondes and Suffrajets) but it’s Be Your Own Pet who, with this debut, appear most fully formed, most ready to rule over the whole scene, not just some spurious media-invented girl-rock adjunct. And it’s their singer Jemina Pearl who’s set to inspire a whole host of new bands, like Karen O and Courtney Love before her.
Her band’s self-titled debut carries her stamp, with deep imprints of ass-kicking cool, while she’s the foghorn focus for their snotty rock’n’roll. She’s what anyone bored of boring, boring boys has long been waiting for. When she screams, “I’m an independent muthafucker!” on ‘Bunk Trunk Skunk’, you can almost hear the stampede of girls making a beeline for the rehearsal room. And, when she voices her adoration of hardcore gods Bad Brains on ‘Let’s Get Sandy (Big Problem)’ with a squeal and a snarl, you can almost see the blood and guts of those boys trampled underfoot. She personifies everything great rock’n’roll should be; sexy, riotous, and dangerous. And with more air in her lungs than an over-inflated Zeppelin.
See, much of the reason for bothering with BYOP lies in the absolute glory of hearing Pearl succeed in making every lyrical couplet she spews forth sound as if she’s been drinking cider since birth and is ready to hurl… anytime… now! Songs like ‘Bog’ might otherwise sound like kidnapped retards being given guitars and big fuck-off amps for the first time (and that’s no criticism – this is a record smeared with the memory of The Stooges’ sloppy soul after all), but it’s Pearl’s very being that makes them sound fun.
And, if there’s a reason for this record’s existence, it’s to showcase Be Your Own Pet’s relentless pursuit of fun. If it wasn’t enough that they’ve got a song entitled ‘Fuuuuuun’ (which sounds like all those ace Elastica singles squished together into a minute-and-a-bit-long blast of stroppy clatter-punk), then the likes of ‘Adventure’ (“We are adventuring/We are adventurers”) or the B-movie rumble of ‘Girls On TV’ (which sounds like a Cramps song doused in a bucket of costume blood) suggest this is a band with little time for musical evolution, the fourth chord, or any of those other boring, boring things boring, boring boys in bands talk about.
Of course, there are boys at work here too, and what fine labour they toil. You can hear Jonas Stein’s guitar snapping away in the background and Nathan Vasquez’s bass rumbling underfoot, while Jamin Orrall’s drums take Be Your Own Pet’s songs and beat and pound them ever, ever onward. Yet the bands that will spring up in the wake of Be Your Own Pet’s dazzling debut will do so because of Jemina Pearl’s burning-bright star. Here’s one chord, here’s another, and here’s the first inspiring rock’n’roll woman for a half-decade – now form a band. Let’s make way for the second wave of boy / grrrl revolution… now!