Wett Nurse // Hissy Fit
Recommended Track: Satans
I’m not much of a Thee Oh Sees fan which means I tend to overlook their obvious influence on the garage rock records I review, finding it an uninteresting and generally lazy way to identify a band’s sound because DUH everyone wants to sound like Thee Oh Sees. That said, how egregious of an Oh Sees rip-off do you have to be for even a skeptical listener like myself to say, “This sounds like Thee Oh Sees?”
Portland’s Wett Nurse (formerly of Marquette, Michigan) answer that question with “Hissy Fit”, the first track off their limited edition tape of the same name, out on Richmond, Virginia blog-turned-tape label Ongakubaka Records. From the frenetic pacing to the vocal effects, this song sounds almost exactly like Thee Oh Sees–something the label is quick to bring attention to in the press release (no defense like a great offense.)
However, don’t let such petty distinctions dissuade you from giving the rest of Hissy Fit a good listen as a) nothing wrong within a decent rip, keyword being decent, and Wett Nurse is far beyond decent, and b) this band can play, really play, capably alternating between chaos and melody, sure enough of their tunes to let them go off the rails entirely for a couple of bars before crashing back in with an unexpected guitar riff or snappy snare beat. It’s worth listening to the tape via headphones so you can hear and appreciate all the cool little musical motifs going on: a great bass line here, a sick drum beat there, some wild vocals buried underneath it all. And let’s not forget melody. Yes, Wett Nurse can write a wicked melody and don’t they know it, consistently letting their cheery organ propel the listener forward on sunshine and rainbows while the rest of the band goes nuts just below the surface.
Really, there’s nothing to dislike about this solid set of 6 garage punk songs aside from how shiny the production gets on the middle tracks for a regrettable 80s garage feel (“Intermission Pt. 2”)—there’s a reason this shit is generally delivered with a healthy scoop of fuzz, and not just to disguise the lack of songwriting chops, which Wett Nurse wouldn’t need to worry about anyway. But when the band nail it, as they do on final track “Satans” there’s just something so satisfying about the way the music fits together it’s difficult to believe you haven’t heard it before.