Chastity Belt: Chastity Belt (Hardly Art) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020  

Chastity Belt

Chastity Belt

Hardly Art

Sep 16, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

DIIV, Real Estate, Soccer Mommy, Japanese Breakfast, Surfer Blood, Snail Mail, Big Thief, and Chastity Belt: what do each of these bands have in common? The jaunty, jangly guitars. Ladies and gents over in Brooklyn really love it, and it's enjoyed in other trendy places, too. So how does Walla Walla, Washington's Chastity Belt set itself apart? By inflating its own bubble, understanding it, and staying in it.

Co-produced by Jay Som (Melina Duterte), Chastity Belt is album four for this group of close friends—Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Gretchen Grimm, and Annie Truscott—who have been supporting each other for at least 10 years. Light and lush, Chastity Belt sways it its pocket, throwing out a few jolts here and there. Shapiro, Lund, and Grimm share guitar and vocal duties; it's hard to tell the players apart because they carry the same drawl. Shapiro and Grimm both play drums (high-hat splash, neat snare hits), and Truscott claims all bass (opener "Ann's Jam" is probably her song). The cohesion speaks to their preserved friendship.

Chastity Belt is patient, mellow, and locked. Even a 2018 break for trying solo music (check Shapiro's Perfect Version) and jamming with other musicians couldn't rattle the support mechanism. If the sky is constantly blue, then Chastity Belt is able to make its love-is-greater-than-product art. They have their freewheeling mobility, and recess gave them better health.

The palatial guitars fit the mold of those aforementioned bands, but that mold can be broken. During "It Takes Time," Chastity Belt amps high with fuzz, seeming to improvise outward. The quiet-loud dynamic is at play here, and the guitar drone comes full-circle on "Half-Hearted," while a violin airstrip is laid on "Effort."

Getting lost in Chastity Belt is possible if you sit back, close your eyes, and don't think. "I saw it coming and now it's gone" is the last lyric on closer "Pissed Pants," as distortion concludes the album in parallel to Beck's Morning Phase. (

Author rating: 7/10

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