For sophomore album, young punks beef up sound without shedding scrappiness
On Be Your Own Pet’s debut, the Nashville teens sounded like a Muppety thrash-punk version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The Gossip
. It would be misleading to say they’ve grown up: Thematically, Get Awkward
still revolves around teenage anarchy, teenage apathy, bad drugs, fun parties, stupid boys, cute boys, preppy girls and brain-eating, and lead singer Jemina Pearl’s caterwaul is still terrifically bratty. But, musically, they’re well beyond their years, augmenting their paroxysmal tantrums with sturdy touches of glam, cock rock, ’70s metal and points outlying. Particularly format-breaking and fantastic is the unlikely pop confection “Becky,” a high-school murder melodrama that successfully weds BYOP’s signature rawness with classic girl-group content and style. While the band is ferocious and tight, Pearl in particular has attained force-of-nature caliber formidability, not just in the burgeoning mastery of her commanding rapid-fire squeal, but in her frankly sexual gaze and world-devouring disdain for all things not awesome.