Words by Ed King
On Friday 4th May, P.E.T unleash their debut single ‘Tommy’ – available for free, gratis, nada, NOTHING, through iTunes, Spotify and other online streaming platforms. Bless their altruistic socks… it’s like Christmas without the snow. So, like Christmas.
‘Tommy’ is the first release from P.E.T since they formed back in October 2017. It’s somewhat of a rubber stamp of authority too, from a band who quite simply mean business.
Described as ‘Birmingham’s rising punk balloon’, P.E.T are now firmly at the forefront of Birmingham’s live music scene – with an endearing on and off stage persona, as well as some ball kickingly good live shows in their shadow. Intelligent, ferocious, absurdly funny, with a set list that pulls people into the stage like Pinhead hurling around a bunch of fish hooks on Hensley chains, P.E.T have spent the past 6 months or so kicking audiences into touch across the city.
Birmingham Review was lucky to snag P.E.T to support Rews at the Hare & Hounds on 22nd March, a mere week after they tore The Sunflower Lounge a new orifice whilst opening for The Cosmics. Throwing speaker stacks of energy at you no matter where or with whom they seem to play, P.E.T are a band who work hard, deliver on stage, and are experiencing a frighteningly promising (yet well deserved) nascent in the local music secen. And they’re just, frickin’, awesome to watch live.
But now they’re recording/releasing as well, striking two off the holy trinity of ‘ones to watch’. A strong festival season or a high-profile support tour, before you ask. So, what’s this ‘ere ‘Tommy’ ruckus all about then..?
As you’d expect, the track wastes little time declaring itself – opening with a brutally strong guitar riff and bassline, from Molly MacDonald and Rosie Jones respectively, that reminds me of bands from before these punk proteges were even conceived. Literally.
Kris Szulecki’s rolling punch drums then build up to an immediate crescendo and introduce a slight key change; ‘Tommy’ hooks you from the off, then nipple twists a small surprise to keep you interested. You get the feeling very quickly this is a winner.
Absurdly together, the production values shine immediately – laying a confident base to the ferocity of Abi Whistance’s piercing vocals. Then this is where another ‘golden marker’ (as my friend used to call them) appears. P.E.T aren’t just making noise, even if it’s well structured and delivered noise, they have something to say. And whilst ‘Tommy’ isn’t a dissertation of the nuances of shifting global trade and foreign policy, it is a sly attack. Inspired by the on-stage antics of another local punk band, who may or may not have more than cider in their system, ‘Tommy’ is a loving dig at the drug addled culture and purported bravado of exuberance.
Whistance is in your face, with the intelligence to get that close and away with it, preaching her lyrics on a background of tight musicianship. Being all church choir and tofu growing up I wouldn’t know precisely what they’re talking about, but the sense of urgency and intent on ‘Tommy’ is unassailable. I’d even be a little bit proud if it was focused at me.
The downside, for there is always a downside, is this recording is arguably too polished. There’s a slight but exciting lull, if that’s even the right word, at around the 1:45min mark where I began looking for TV sets to jettison and windows high enough to do the job properly. On stage you could imagine this actually happening, or a least a chair or two finding it’s wings. But on the recording you are left to smash screens in your mind. Which feels, for this band, like a bit of a loss of the overall P.E.T experience.
There is a solution though, in fact there are two coming up – P.E.T are playing at The Sunflower Lounge on Friday 4th May, supporting Bad Girlfriend, and then headlining their own free party at Get the Fear on Saturday 12th May. And if this is in anyway your cup of snakebite, I strongly suggest you go and check them out live.
But if you can’t, then ‘Tommy’ is not a bad place to start – a punk decadent calling card from a band caught in the rising light of a seriously bright horizon. Awesome stuff. Now where’s my packet of silver Rizlas and wrap of toffee apple gone…
On Friday 4th May, P.E.T release their debut single ‘Tommy’ – available through iTunes, Spotify and other online streaming platforms. For more on P.E.T, including streaming links and gig listings, visit www.facebook.com/petbanduk
P.E.T are supporting Bad Girlfriend at The Sunflower Lounge on Friday 4th May. For direct event information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit https://bit.ly/2IaWHnP
P.E.T will also be headlining a gig at Get the Fear in Digbeth on 12th May – with support from Dead Summers, Solsara + DJ Jacky P. For direct event information, including venue details and online ticket sales, visit https://bit.ly/2JS3FeB