White Hot Moon, Pity Sex's longest album to date, is a satisfactory album for reasonable people. At points it crackles with Sonic Youth instrumental promise; it encompasses elements of experimental rock, pop punk, even shoegaze. The whole album is underpinned by peppery guitar, which peaks on the third track Bonhomie. You cannot resist tapping your foot.
Britty Drake and Brennan Greaves, the foursomes two vocalists, mix well. They create an equilibrium between grit and sparkling softness. It is reminiscent of Tigers Jaw and was arguably groundbreaking in an originally male dominated scene. It is one of Pity Sex's constants, and does wear thin on both Dandelion and September. With lyrics such as "You are the earth beneath my feet" and "You are my sun and my breeze," it's cliché and verging on tacky.
"Plum" in contrast, strikes white-hot. Entailing the loss of a parent, it is a sterling example of one of Pity Sex's talents: to deal with very adult themes and wrap them up in vocals in this case clear and ghostly, and loud guitar. Much like Sorority Noise who, especially in their most recent album, lyricise serious topics such as mental illness and addiction, they are using the emo revival as a vehicle for discussion of difficulty. However, those bands seem to be maturing and evolving, but White Hot Moon feels very similar to Pity Sex's previous work. It would not disappoint Pity Sex's fans, nor discourage a new listener, but as the genre is moving forward, Pity Sex do not seem to be.
Orange and red and White Hot Moon do not deviate from the Pity Sex formula: Traditional lyrics + loud guitar = Pity Sex song. The album, except the ballads which in themselves become repetitive, tries but does not quite get the foursome out of the comfort zone. Despite being more polished with help of producer Will Yip, White Hot Moon is a good record but is unsurprising.
Words: Lily Benn