Fire Note Says: Pity Sex keep growing on their newest LP.
Album Review: As an Ohioan, I’m not sure if I am allowed to admit that anything good comes out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. That good thing is Pity Sex. No, this is not a tawdry tale that is appropriate for mature audiences only. Pity Sex is an alt-rock band from the area whose first album, Feast of Love, I happen to adore. I was nervous to give the new LP, White Hot Moon, a listen, for fear of being disappointed. I was not. Band members Sean St. Charles (drums), Brennan Greaves (guitar/vocals), Britty Drake (guitar/vocals), and Brandan Pierce (bass) bring it on this latest release.
Quick summary of what to expect from Pity Sex: heavily distorted guitars, pounding percussion, and alternating male/female vocals (Greaves and Drake both sing lead vocals on the album). I like my guitar rock heavy on melody (like R.E.M. or Foo Fighters) and Pity Sex provide this aplenty. Album opener “A Satisfactory World For Reasonable People” is a great song to check out if you want to determine if the band is your thing. Guitar and drums shine, while both Greaves’ and Drake’s vocals are delivered in a serviceable fashion. Lyrics are often hard to make out because of the distortion; if you like parsing out meaning in lyrics Pity Sex may not be for you.
This style is nothing new for Pity Sex – their debut was full of quality hooks and melody but short on anything but angsty themes about love and sex. What’s different this time is the better-developed song structure and occasional lyrical depth. The best example of this is “Plum,” which is found halfway through the album. The production cuts down on the distortion to give the Drake’s vocals the foreground. “Plum” is a song about losing a parent and pulls off this tricky undertaking with deftness. Neither emotionally repressed nor maudlin, it is a terrific song with an even better story. It caught me off-guard because of its tone and realness; it showed me that Pity Sex is in fact growing as a band.
In spite of the heaviness of “Plum” there’s still a lot of fun to have amidst the emo-ness of White Hot Moon. It’s subdued fun that doesn’t rely on cheap theatrics or anthemic choruses to draw you in. I appreciate a band that doesn’t pander and knows their identity; Pity Sex definitely fits that bill.
Key Tracks: “Plum” / “A Satisfactory World For Reasonable People” / “Pin A Star”
Artists With Similar Fire: Hum / Dinosaur Jr. / Sonic Youth
Pity Sex Website
Pity Sex Facebook
Run For Cover Records
-Reviewed by Matthew Heiner