Be Your Own Pet: Mommy (Third Man) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, December 7th, 2023  

Be Your Own Pet


Third Man

Sep 20, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

I don’t know who had a new album by Be Your Own Pet on their 2023 bingo card, but it certainly came as a surprise to me. The band acrimoniously broke up in 2008 following the release of their excellent second album Get Awkward, so this reunion was definitely unexpected. Although if you’d been paying close enough attention, the band had gotten back together in 2021 and even opened a few dates for Jack White at Barclays Center last year before dropping the first single from this record back in March. Since their breakup, singer Jemina Pearl released a solo album in 2009 and played in the garage punk band The Ultras S/C for most of the 2010s alongside her husband, Third Man co-owner Ben Swank. Meanwhile guitarist Jonas Stein played in Turbo Fruits and drummer John Eatherly spent his time playing in various acclaimed groups such as Smith Westerns and Chairlift. They all got together last year to write and record this, only their third album, in Nashville with their longtime collaborator/producer Jeremy Ferguson.

And what an album it is! Mommy expertly splits the difference between the teen snottiness and insane energy of their 2000s output and a more mature musical and lyrical outlook befitting the passage of time since they last released anything. On this record, Pearl is clearly in thrall to Karen O and early Yeah Yeah Yeahs on a few tracks and some of the songs contain an almost dance-punk sheen and feel never hinted at in their earlier work. Whether this is a direction they’ll take in the future remains to be seen, but it works very well here.

The lyrics are fittingly more mature as well, with concerns about getting older (with the band members now being in their 30s) dominating the proceedings. A great example is the album’s third single, “Goodtime!,” with lyrics bemoaning adult responsibilities such as kids and mortgages and wanting to experience the fun and connection of youth. The album’s opening track and second single, “Worship the Whip,” is even more striking, an all-out assault on the religious right, and the first time this band has ever gotten political. “Big Trouble” continues that theme with lyrics demanding equal pay and bodily autonomy, but the album ends, interestingly, with a hazy dream-pop ballad called “Teenage Heaven” that could have been on a Raveonettes or Dum Dum Girls album from 10 to 15 years ago. Whether this is a goodbye to their youth or a whiff of innocent nostalgia on a forward-thinking album is a question I’m still asking, but either way, it’s a welcome ending to a great album. Welcome back! (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 5/10


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