Key tracks: “Rusted Shut,” “The Spins”
Freshly born at a woman’s college just a short drive from me, western Massachusetts’ Potty Mouth’s full-length debut falls under the increasingly growing umbrella term of “pop-punk.” A decade ago, pop-punk was a very specific genre of music, but nowadays, it’s just anything that fits the qualifications. And technically, Potty Mouth do. Their songs are pop songs, tainted by punk rhythm and intensity. But they aren’t a big-chorus, small town hating band. Their songs have an added reverb tinge to them, uncharacteristic of pop-punk. And the band seems to have a personal attitude, not to be bothered by genre lines.
Potty Mouth have such a fuzzy and distorted sound that they almost start to resemble simple shoegaze bands like Yuck, but they still have definitive song structures. This toying with the basics of genres only helps to show the band’s open attitude and general distrust of being labeled under anything. This non-abiding of genres makes the catchiness of the album seem perversely warped, almost ironic. But it isn’t – the songs are catchy, at times fully embracing the pop element of pop-punk. Equal parts fuzzy and catchy, Potty Mouth properly blend the best of two genres to make that rich, 90’s-revivalist sound.
This isn’t a political album, but the band does take an approach towards equality in their music. And rightfully so, because they are often labeled as a “female band” and not as a “band”. This approach is, I guess, the “punk” element of the “pop-punk,” although that’s still defined more by the energy of the music. Because things aren’t equal, especially in the music world, they’re often labeled as a feminist band. But musings of equality creep into the album, pushing the album above most lyrically-boring pop-punk bands.
But what the album really is, is a decent set of fuzzy, catchy, punk tunes that have trouble separating themselves from each other but are instantly catchy and memorable. Potty Mouth has the energy of a punk band, the catchy rhythms of a pop group, and the reverb of a conventional-leaning noise-rock band. The album isn’t perfect, but it’s a winning combination.
If you like this, try: Yuck’s 2011 self-titled album. It isn’t that great of an album, but the distortion on “Hell Bent” reminded me greatly of it.
-By Andrew McNally