Reviews Pet Genius Pet Genius

Pet Genius

Pet Genius

Stephen Brodsky is a shape-shifter. Throughout his musical career, the oftentimes-enigmatic frontman has been the main songwriting force behind numerous projects of all realms of music. He’s tackled everything from metal and hardcore to acoustic and indie with Cave In, Kid Kilowatt, New Idea Society, The Octave Museum, and even his own solo recordings. Pet Genius is the latest project to feature his involvement. Pet Genius seems to blur the lines between Brodsky’s solo work and his time spent in Kid Kilowatt, and even adding in more rocking moments that call to mind Cave In’s more straight-forward pop-rock approach.

For his latest endeavor, Brodsky gets help from former cohort and Cave In drummer J.R. Conners and bassist Johnny Northrup, whom he spent time with in The Octave Museum. “Doomsday” opens with fuzzed out guitar riffs before Brodsky chimes in with his recognizable vocals. The song fluctuates back and forth between the more rocking moments and the slightly more pop-rock driven moments. It’s as though we’re getting the best of both worlds, which you won’t hear me complaining about. “The Visiting Dynamiter” walks a different line. The distorted guitars are switched out for an acoustic and the song takes on a much more relaxed tone. It actually reminds me of a Lennon-penned song from The Beatles, a comparison that isn’t so striking when you consider the similarities in vocal harmonies and Brodsky’s open praise of “the fab four.” And these are basically your two sounds that you’ll hear throughout Pet Genius.

“Walls of Etiquette” is another rock tune that features some distorted guitars. The result is not unlike Failure’s Comfort. Pet Genius really kicks up it up with “Man of the Mountain.” The song opens with big sweeping guitars riffs, but quickly subsides into acoustic guitars and Brodsky’s sweet melodies. The cycle repeats itself over the course of the song. “Float My Boat” is an interesting song that is hard to describe. The guitars have a Nirvana-esque tone to them, but the vast majority of the song is done in a manner that doesn’t really come off as a rock or punk song. “Chromatic Blues” definitely rocks, in a Queens of the Stone Age kind of way.

“Emit Fo Deeps Eht Esare” provides a moment to collect your thoughts as it is an interlude with a simple guitar and backwards recording looped. “Erase the Time of Speed” - do you see what they did there? - uses the same riff. Conners’ drumwork in this song is fantastic; it’s nothing that is extremely technical but it gives off a great vibe and goes with the rest of the music to the song.

“Cosmic Erosion” is a beautifully crafted song from start to finish. The lush tones of the guitars and fluid basslines drive the song along. Meanwhile Brodsky delivers his harmonies over the top and the result is pure magic. Album closer “Scrapyard King” clocks in at just over four minutes. Musically the song fits right in with the rest of the album with Brodsky’s soothing vocals and the combination of rock riffs and pop rock.

With Pet Genius Brodsky and company have brought forth a more than fine composition of songs. On the recording the band serve up an interesting mixture of fuzzed out rock and roll, pop rock, and indie rock. If you’re seeking lo-fi oriented rock, then this album is definitely something you should look into.

8.0 / 10Michael
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