July 10, 2013
For emo-leaning punks and hardcore kids, being drawn into shoegaze's pearling waves is a natural transition and a coming of age of sorts. Gone are the taut, intense four-chord riffs and screaming heartaches, as they're replaced by a wash of feedback and layering effects, and while both genres' weights sit within similar decibel ranges, the latter is usually played to a higher degree of difficulty. There’s never really been much of a middle ground to bridge the sonic walls between the Promise Ring and My Bloody Valentine, however, aside from tuneful pop nuances that resolve reverb by abandoning punk’s physicality. Ann Arbor, MI’s Pity Sex keep the latter intact foremost by cross-bearing a crude name, but for all its dirty provocations, there’s beauty in their form of lush lust. The quartet came together in 2011 as a project spearheaded by childhood friends and lifelong bandmates, guitarist and vocalist Brennan Greaves and drummer Sean St. Charles, after the two sought to branch out from their hardcore roots and wedge their way into the matured circles of alternative influences they'd become well versed in throughout their college years. Mutual friend Britty Drake was asked to join the fold to help steer them into this new direction and now stands next to Greaves on guitar and the mic, while Brandan Pierce, who'd played bass with Greaves and St. Charles in past bands, solidified what Pity Sex is now. Since then, the four have released two EPs in a self-titled effort and last year's Dark World, which saw the lines drawn between Mineral and Hum still showing up visibly, but on their recently released full-length debut Feast of Love (out on Run for Cover Records,) Pity Sex's emotive romance blurs the two worlds together with swirling guitars that catch their edges around the corners of traditional pop-punk. It's a sound that's blissfully content in mending progress with nostalgia, and the consensual intercourse between the two allows the rising Midwestern noisemakers to play alongside a diversity of up-and-comers as well, having already shared the stage with thrashers La Dispute and Code Orange Kids and heart-on-their-sleeve-bearers Waxahatchee, Screaming Females and current tourmates The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. Pity Sex will also be appearing at this year's punk marathon Fest 12 in Gainesville, which in itself should be a watershed moment for a band whose growing pains have ultimately turned out to be their strength.