Published Mar 20, 2015The female foursome known as Chastity Belt have tapped into a balanced coolness that is somehow urgent while simultaneously aloof. On Time to Go Home, the band's second full-length album, the group explore themes of boredom, excess, promiscuity and anxiety with a certain melancholy that articulates the ambivalent attitudes of many post-adolescents. The energy in these songs is of a post-punk nature, and while Julia Shapiro's voice possesses an apathetic quality, the songs are full of purpose, empowered by interweaving guitars, unshakable drumming and tough, powerful bass lines.
Chastity Belt make no bones about their politics here: on "Cool Slut," Julia Shapiro nonchalantly sings "We're just a couple of sluts, going out on the town, fooling around" and "It's okay to be slutty." The casual use of such a loaded term is noteworthy; Shapiro is addressing sexuality in the same bold way men have been doing for years. Their musical exploration is equally bold, taking dips into various genres, expanding sounds into wild territories and ending many songs with elongated, tempo-altering codas. The most voracious piece is the Misfits-like, John Carpenter horror tribute called "The Thing," a pumped up punk song with a So-Cal riff reminiscent of Dead Kennedy's "Police Truck."
There's an inherent despair underlying most of these songs, even when Shapiro's singing about such mundane topics as nights out ("Time to Go Home"), getting stoned ("Joke") and sitting around doing nothing ("On the Floor"). Detachment and frustration are epitomized on "IDC," as Shapiro sings "Is it cool not to care? I got drunk out of boredom / I did not want to be there," while a slow blues progression rings out around her. Shapiro's moxie is refreshing and her laissez-faire attitude saves the songs from ever being depressing.
Time to Go Home confronts the reality of living for the party and life after it's done. Their musicianship and unflinching humour in the face of potentially bleak topics makes this album a distinct piece and a joy to listen to. (Hardly Art)