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Potty Mouth – Cherry Picking EP

7.8

In recent years, Massachusetts punks Potty Mouth have released brooding, layered music marked by singer Abby Weems’ dry vocal delivery. Though earlier releases such as 2013 LP Hell Bent were unlike anything before or since, they still got the obligatory and tackily gender-specific comparisons to ‘90s music – namely obvious Riot Grrrl reference points, though the band’s songs are not overtly political.

Perhaps those who heard 20-year-old “alternative” music when listening to Potty Mouth’s earlier releases had a headphone jack on their crystal ball. The Cherry Picking EP, issued by the band’s own Planet Whatever imprint, really does have the same smart yet catchy appeal of Veruca Salt or the Breeders.

Lead track “Cherry Picking” has been making the rounds online for a few weeks now, teasing the band’s change in sonic direction. The band, cut from a four piece to a power trio since its last release, has sped things up musically, adding some pep to its moody vibe. This livening up of the music itself is paired by Weems’ transformation from a deadpan speaker to a pop-minded punk singer. It’s the first of five examples of a seemingly limited vocalist blossoming while her bandmates expand their own musical palates.

The remaining tracks follow a similar formula, without bleeding together. “Creep Weed” and “The Bomb” are the kind of punchy, bitingly honest punk that, if recorded in 1995, would have made it onto a Daria episode, only to be cut from future DVD releases due to copyright issues. In this age of Facebook fueled nostalgia, anything that could have made the MTV rotation then should be easy for listeners over 20 to digest.

“Long Haul” and “The Truman Show” close the album with some of the band’s finest guitar work to date, giving these songs a more recent pop-punk feel. That is, if today’s pop-punks could muster up good lyrics and memorable riffs.

Another album cut from the same cloth as earlier Potty Mouth releases would have surely pleased fans and confused a few writers expecting feminist manifestos. For whatever reason, more of the same did not fit the band’s goals. Instead, the band’s first release in over two years brings a fresh yet familiar vibe. It’s weird, though, for the band to go from being compared to period specific music mainly because of gender, and the happy coincidence of sharing a name with Bratmobile’s first album, to sounding like music from that era that’s actually aged well.

Potty Mouth
Cherry Picking EP
[Planet Whatever]