What do films like The Goonies, The Breakfast Club and The Sandlot all have in common? They each follow a group of outsiders who possess wit and talent, are easy to root for and are stronger together than apart. The same could be said about British four-piece Indoor Pets (formerly known as Get Inuit). Indoor Pets signed to Wichita Recordings for the release of their debut album Be Content—a return to the unironically anthemic pop/rock choruses of the 2000’s.
There’s something almost cartoonish about Indoor Pets frontman Jamie Glass. He looks like a cartoon. He sounds like a cartoon. But he’s real. The bespectacled, floppy-haired Glass sings like he’s inhaled too much balloon helium, and listeners are likely to love his voice, hate it or fluctuate between the two depending on the day. It may or may not alter your opinion of his saccharine pop pipes, but it’s worth noting that there was no dramatic filtering process to honey his voice. It’s not a radio or Spotify algorithm stunt—his vocals are the real deal. Watch their recent Paste Studio session below if you’re still in denial.
Be Content grapples with personal inadequacies, but doesn’t necessarily try to conquer them. It seeks to loosen up a bit through an open admission of these issues (and hopefully find a community to bond over shared trials and tribulations), whether that’s through bleakness, humor or a combination of the two. Loneliness, self-doubt, fame, anxiety and alienation are all addressed here, particularly on songs like “Pro Procrastinator,” “Being Strange” and “Heavy Thoughts.”
On “Pro Procrastinator,” Glass wonders what life would be like if he chose a different path (“I’m wasting my life”) and on “Good Enough,” he ravages his self-worth. It’s much easier to contextualize these lyrics after hearing “Being Strange”—a feel-good pop Bat Signal for all the weirdos who don’t fit in (“Where are all the other freaks living now”). “The Mapping of Dandruff,” one of two slow numbers on this LP, doesn’t quite connect musically, but its devastating lyrics salvage some emotional appeal (“I’m so human it hurts”). Be Content acknowledges it’s healthy to pile on yourself sometimes, but it’s also important to know when it crosses a line.
Their scruffy, streamlined guitar pop takes sonic references from The Hives, ‘00s pop-punk and Weezer, but Indoor Pets contain an extra spoonful or two of pop sugar. Tracks like “Hi” and “Being Strange” are obvious melodic pop high points, but side one has particularly tough competition with the jolting rock number “Thick,” bubblegum pop tune “Teriyaki” and the intensely exuberant “Spill My Guts.” Be Content appears front-loaded at first because the first seven tracks swing for the colossal chorus fences, but the back half contains nearly as many sky-high pop hooks, albeit some are less satisfying.
And for all the sugary content, there’s almost always a gritty counterpunch running parallel or in the rearview mirror. Moments like Glass’ extended, earth-shattering yelps on “Barbiturates” and the fuzzy, siren-like guitar breakdown on “Pro Procrastinator” are the rambunctious rock ‘n’ roll ying to the album’s syrupy pop yang. Be Content will make millennials nostalgic for uplifting power chord pop, and as long as Indoor Pets are writing infectious hooks and melodies like these, it might just make Generation Z want to run to the nearest guitar store.
Watch Indoor Pets’ full Paste Studio session below.