Tuesday, March 29, 2005Damn Damn Leash
Mayfair's soon-to-be-closed Infinity Club was packed to the rafters with meeja types, photographers and zeitgeist spotters last Thursday for Be Your Own Pet's much hyped debut UK gig. Be Your Own Pet have recently received some rave press from Dazed & Confused and NME and so were whisked away from their home town of Nashville for a weekend of intensive showcases and gigs to give The Meeja a chance to claim their discovery and the A&R men to fight over their soul. BYOP are creating a stir for various reasons, but the most obvious of these is their age (17) and their singer (Jemina) (though this may be to do with age too). The craziness of playing to packed clubs in a far off land without actually doing anything was explicit in their faces - it really must have felt so crazy. But unlike most 17 year old bands playing shitty bars in their hometown every weekend, Be Your Own Pet have an energy and authenticity that should make everyone from Karen O to fellow-deep-south-youngsters, Kings of Leon worry about their rockstatus.
Be Your Own Pet's sound is scuzzy, dirty, garage with heaps of attitude and energy. They don't look like they are going to be noisy - the guys are all clean cut and fresh faced and Jemina could be a Gwenabee with her valleygirl-cum-punkchicka looks. But in truth they are like the 1976 era Blondie I never got to see - brash, loud, heavy, but with more energy than you can ever imagine Debbie Harry to command. At the same time, it's hard to imagine a band any older having this sort of energy. Their music is unjaded and fresh, which is definitely one of their strongest features. There is none of the apathy induced by looking for jobs, the seeming pointlessness of highwer education when all you want to do is play guitar...they are simply kids who want to be in a band, and what could be more admirable than that?
With so many bands being hyped every week as The Next Big Thing, it's hard to imagine how there will be space for all these Big Things. But Be Your Own Pet really are a cut above the rest. This is only the beginning of something wonderful and let us just hope that they aren't beaten down by others' resentment before they flourish fully. They have a single, Damn Damn Leash out now on XL which is available to buy from Rough Trade.