According to the Urban Dictionary, Pity Sex is “when girls have sex with guys because they feel bad for them.” It’s difficult, however, to feel bad for the band of the same name as they ride the wave of success that is the emo/grunge/shoegaze revival. That said, the problem with any genre of music that becomes trendy for a time is that the scene becomes over saturated. This is especially true of this particular scene because you not only have the newer bands, but you also have the bands of yesteryear (American Football, Appleseed Cast, etc.) having another bash at it. So, the question is; can Pity Sex stand out from the crowd?
The short answer is: no. That’s not to say that ‘White Hot Moon’ is in any way bad. It’s fantastically well produced, which should be no surprise with Will Yip at the helm, and the contrast of the jangly pop moments with the more fuzzed out, driving chords makes for an extremely enjoyable listen. ‘Bonhomie’ and ‘Pin A Star’ showcase the band’s ability to write a stomping powerpop song, but the record really shines when it takes a deliberate and focused step back on tracks like ‘Dandelion’ and ‘Plum’, with Britty Drake‘s ethereal vocals taking the lead.
If there’s any real criticism to be levelled at ‘White Hot Moon’, it’s that Brennan Greaves‘ vocal delivery is at best a little colourless, at worst completely monotonous. Granted that this is fairly common within the genre, but you need only look to their contemporaries like Tigers Jaw and Balance & Composure to see that it’s letting those vocals loose from time to time and showing a bit of passion and grit that makes the songs more distinguishable from one another. It’s unfortunate for Pity Sex that they share a label with Tigers Jaw; a band that shares many of the same traits, but has more cards in their deck to make for a more interesting overall listen. If Pity Sex can’t stand out amongst their immediate peers, what hope do they have of being recognised higher up the ladder?
‘White Hot Moon’ is a great album, but one that’s not likely to have much shelf life. It’s unlikely to show up on many end of year lists, or be considered a ‘classic’ of its time and genre, but if you’re looking for something to fill the gaps between what you consider to be this year’s big or important releases, you could certainly do worse.
Written by Liam Knowles (@wearefixtures)