Published Apr 27, 2016Like their 2013 debut Feast of Love, Pity Sex's White Hot Moon is all delivered through the dorm-quaking filter of '80s-glancing, fuzz-friendly indie rock, but as it lyrically establishes itself as a nuanced contemporary product less than 20 seconds in, that's the extent of its borrowed nostalgia.
Under the omnipresent, telescopic spotlight of its titular celestial mirror, Pity Sex's sophomore LP lifts the veil on two separate loner-types absorbed in their isolation: one is chasing artificial connection, licking touchscreen glass while @mentioning TV personalities and begging for moon-lit hook-ups; the other is an overly sentimental romantic refusing to wash off the smell of the last brush they had with their crush. This is "A Satisfactory World for Reasonable People," the tracklisting says, but by the end of the first track, our heroes agree they're "dancing in a dream."
Respectively brought to life by Brennan Greaves and Britty Drake, White Hot Moon's protagonists aren't especially likeable characters, and as the album unfolds, they aren't made any more attractive. While Drake tells a lover "I'll always think of your lips / When I'm moving mine against his" ("Bonhomie"), Greaves' character can't get over his inability to find a ringtone that defines him as a person ("Digital Ring"), so it's appropriate when they join each other in asking, "When I feel good don't you feel good?" ("Wappen Beggars") and subsequently somewhat satisfying that they close the album with a lonely, indulgent wave of guitar feedback. At the same time, this just serves to better alert listeners to how equally compromised and ill-equipped two alternately invested millennials can be navigating this modern world of swipe-blessed connections.
They might be picking at low-hanging fruit, but by tapping into the aesthetic vocabularies of higher king loners like Dinosaur Jr., Pity Sex have created a document that's a better reminder of how timeless incompatibility is than a hard sell on a specific lifestyle. (Run For Cover)