Reviews Pity Party Concrete

Pity Party


Hello 1990s. Pity Party, from Oakland, play fuzzed out drudgy punk. While most press I read about calls the band pop-punk and even emo, I’d put them a less crisp category. DIY indie-punk, maybe? But with some harsher sounds that parlay a little more anger and anguish. Grunge doesn’t feel quite right, but close. I hate to drop the Riot Grrl reference because I normally think it’s lazy, but Pity Party really does show a lot of ‘90s influence. Take the vocal playfulness of the Kill Rock Stars bands of the era, plus the anger (though less overt), and merge it with the chill vibes of 2000’s indie rock.

That’s a long way of saying Pity Party doesn’t fit neatly into any genre confines, which is a pretty good compliment. Some songs are heavy head-nodders, some are angry fists-up rawk, and at times it’s quirky and almost jovial. There are nine songs on Concrete and it never settles into a form-fitting predictable tone. Thematically the record follows the journey after one experiences personal trauma.

“Empathy” is one of the standouts. This song has pop energy but with some playful shouted vocals, including tradeoffs that boost that energy level. While it has a bouncy rhythm, the vocals are downer and serious. “Push” builds to a potent and touching refrain. “Apathy” slows it down to a two-step pace, with shifting tones and dynamics to convey powerful emotion within a pop structure. They add some bells in “Fester” and a strong crescendo in “Temperance.”

Overall, Concrete is diverse and dynamic. Sometimes it’s self-aware and at others it points the finger outward at the world. It’s political, it’s forceful, it’s aggressive and sometimes fun. It displays the complex emotions of real life and embraces them without feeling obligated to stick to a single formula.

7.3 / 10Loren
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7.3 / 10

7.3 / 10

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