Fine Pets // Formerly Pretty
Recommended Track: Come Out
Many bands use hype-words to describe their music but few actually deliver on them. Fine Pets, a lo-fi punk project hailing from ever musically fertile Portland, Oregon, justifies their self-descriptors (garage punk, lo-fi noise, even “shrillwave”) by honoring those who have pioneered their sound while producing something fresh and worth ~23 minutes of your undivided attention.
Formerly Pretty is an EP that exudes the confidence of something/someone that could be described as “pretty” but each track is a wall of aggressive sound featuring relentlessly loud, messy vocals. However, underneath all the dissonance are intelligently constructed melodies that do not leave your brain.
To be honest, I can barely understand a word that vocalist, Jason, slurs into the mic but it doesn’t matter because the band’s musicianship and the way they’ve created music that is both effortlessly and cohesively chaotic is spellbinding enough. Second track “Shoegaze Backlash” is one of my favorites. The title makes me giggle, but the song itself is a great exhibition of range. The rhythm guitar and section are muted in staccato while the lead guitar is distant and stuck in a lovely melody before a more familiar sonic explosion once you hit the ¾ mark of the song. Another sigh of relief was released due to the fact Fine Pets is not confined by their genre(s). They show more subdued aggression with the fluid and pulsating “Come Out,” a song that creates numbing sonic bubble around the listener while still allowing their shrillness to poke through. Despite maintaining an abrasive quality, it’s the closest the band gets to “pop” on Formerly Pretty.
Formerly Pretty is a viscerally gratifying release that exhibits cohesion between each member and their instrument. Their breed of lo-fi punk is angry, yes, but it’s kinda old-school and there’s a swagger to it. This band understands that loud and reckless music can also be infectious and fun. It does not have to be alienating.