2 Jun 2015

Chastity Belt / Time To Go Home (album review)

Right, ok, normally I make an extra-special attempt to only review albums as and when they come out, but for this post I'll make a bit of an exception. Coming out about two or three months ago, my new favourite band Chastity Belt's sophomore LP Time To Go Home has been more or less all I've played over the past week and a half.

So who are the band? Basically Chastity Belt are a super-cool, super-twee band of socially astute feminists based in the almost mythology US west coast city of Seattle - this music video's the crème de la crèmes of introductions to them. They're a four piece, made up of Julia Shapiro (guitar/vocals), Lydia Lund (guitar), Annie Truscott (bass) and Gretchen Grimm (drums), meaning that before you hear a note or see a picture they're going to be pretty great, because as far as people's names go, these are some of the best I've ever heard.

But essentially, their sound is just as cool as their names or their clothes or their lyrics or their them. Chastity Belt have a kind of DIY indie rock sound that's sorta like what I'd imagine every cassette label's wet dream to be like. It's quite lo-fi like maybe in that mid-80's Mary Chain or Felt NME-indie way, complimented beautifully by Julia Shapiro's deadpan vocals. As well as that, you've got their brilliant music videos that are kind of like Perks of Being a Wallflower for people too cool to watch Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Their latest album came out in March, and it best exhibits the snappy caustic lyrics of Julia Shapiro, the bright Smithsian guitar tones, and the general mystique of the band. It's called Time to go home and it's honestly 40 of the finest minutes consigned to record you'll hear this year. Over 10 tracks, it shows the tender, aggressive, and plucky sides of the band, and transports you to the head of these super-cool Seattle scenesters; strong women roving about the town. Time To Go Home, the title track, is a woozy 4 minute blast of power-pop that starts with a downbeat bassline tiptoeing around lazily before a really great echoey guitar tone crashes the sonic party.

The jangle pop masterclass don't end there; Lydia is a sun kissed pop gem, Joke is a dry, sarcastic ramble of glorious indie pop, Cool Sluts is maybe the most important track on the album. A messy indie track, Chastity Belt offer a big fuck you to slut-shaming patriarchs, as cries of "it's okay/it's okay to be slutty" do their best to ameliorate the S-word in a manner that plenty of feminists are so in favour of. 

But anyway, this album is a brilliant antidote to boring all-male indie bass singing about heteronormative relationships, getting drunk with the lads, and just generally being an asshole. Buy it, buy it now, it's two parts dry, witty sarcastic 21st century indie-pop born out of trendy Seattle scenes, and one part an authentic 80's C86 indie throwback. Whatever you want to label it as, this is a wonderful album, and I'm incredibly thankful to have it in my life now. 


(Written by Calum Cashin)