Chastity Belt

(Copyright © 2018 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
No Regerts (2013), 6/10
Time to Go Home (2015), 5/10
I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone (2017), 4/10
Hardly Art (2019), 4/10

Seattle's all-girl band Chastity Belt (lead singer Julia Shapiro, rhythm guitarist Lydia Lund, bassist Annie Truscott and drummer Gretchen Grimm) debuted with the short (29-minute) album No Regerts (Help Yourself, 2013). Black Sail boasts the swagger of the Velvet Underground and Shapiro's vocals are reminiscent of Nico's with soaring Grace Slick-ian declamations. The faster songs (in the tradition of Seattle's garage-rock), notably the punk-rocking Healthy Punk and the grotesque pow-wow dance Giant Vagina, shout existential angst under the guise of party fervor.

Shapiro also fronted Childbirth, a trio with Bree McKenna of Tacocat and Stacy Peck of Pony Time that became famous for two sarcastic songs: I Only Fucked You as a Joke, off It's A Girl (Help Yourself, 2013), and Nasty Grrls off Women's Rights (Suicide Squeeze, 2015).

Chastity Belt's Time to Go Home (2015) boasts the stomping noisy hypnosis of Drone, the demonic psychobilly The Thing, and the catchy IDC (that borrows the melody from Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door). The singer's and the band's limitations are painfully obvious in songs such as Cool Slut where the music fails the provocative lyrics and in songs like Joke and Time to Go Home that don't even sound like songs. The longer the song, the more painful the listening, hence the six-minute On the Floor sounds like a really bad cover of an early Jefferson Airplane psychedelic anthem.

Nothing stands out on I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone (Hardly Art, 2017), other than poor singing and poor playing. Maybe they are trying to go pop, but they lack both inspiration and skills for even the most basic of pop music, let alone for something original.

Pop music doesn't get more ethereal than Rav-4 and Ann's Jam, two of the songs that all sound the same on Hardly Art (2019), produced by Jay Som with the addition of strings and keyboards on some songs.

(Copyright © 2016 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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