February 23, 2020

Pity Sex - White Hot Moon (2016) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Shoegaze
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 2016 Run For Cover Records
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra
Ever since the style began, shoegaze bands have followed a predictable career trajectory. Make a noisy EP that threatens to blow speakers, follow it with a slightly more under-control album that focuses more on songs than it does sound, then on album two (if they get that far) sand off all the rough edges in favor of a slick, professional rock presentation. Pity Sex made good on the first two, but they fail on the third. Their second album, White Hot Moon, doesn't scale back the noise; Britty Drake and Brennan Greaves' guitars are still overdriven and powerfully loud, Sean St. Charles still bashes the drums like they are on fire, and Brandan Pierce's bass is often just as fuzzy as the guitars. Will Yip's production doesn't do much to fancy up their basic sound and, overall, there's nothing very slick to be heard. Like they did on the excellent Feast of Love, Pity Sex do a great job of balancing noise with melody, using both in equal amounts throughout the record and always making good use of shoegaze's standard loud-quiet dynamics. Drake and Greaves blend their voices in classic fashion too, with his deep monotone and her sweet high voice coming off very Velocity Girl-esque. Getting the sound down, and not blanding it out, is impressive enough, but the band also wrote a strong album's worth of songs. Sticking to a patch of ground firmly located between quietly melancholic and calmly depressed, the album creates a hazy mood of sadness that lingers long after the last overloaded notes fade away. Great clouds of minor chords, voices that linger on the edge of tears, tempos that rarely break a sweat (with the occasional exception like the bouncy "Orange and Red"), words that don't dance around the pains of being alive; these are all hallmarks of a record that's out to give listeners heavy feels. White Hot Moon succeeds on that front, and when combined with the sturdy sonic foundation, the result is a second album that evades the shoegaze curse with ease. It may fail to reach the heights that Feast of Love did, but it's no great drop off either and finishes building a strong foundation for the band. Now they can work on doing something even fewer shoegaze bands ever accomplished, making a good third album.

tags: pity sex, white hot moon, 2016, flac,