Evan Weiss is not a name unfamiliar to the mouths of punk, emo, pop-punk and indie fans alike. In-fact, it’s kind of inhabited them in-between glugs of PBR for the better part of a decade due to Weiss’ constant involvement in both the Chicago and New Jersey scenes and, most-notably, Into it. Over it. In 2013, Weiss–along with members of emo-revival contemporaries Kittyhawk and Dowsing–cooked up what would become Pet Symmetry: The band our ears deserved, but not the one we needed right now (then). With the trio’s release of a 7″ comprising of two humorously long-titled songs, we played the debut on our turntables for as long as our ears could listen (which was a very, very long time of course.) Fast forward to 2015, specifically this past week, to Pet Symmetry releasing their/they’re/there full-length. They are officially the band we need–and fortunately have–right now.
Pet Hounds, hilariously named with homage paid to Cali Surf legends, The Beach Boys, is exactly what you might suspect it to be: laced with humor, and more importantly, puns. From “My Exhausted Month (Of May)” to “Salad Daze (Seein’ Cred)” the listener is taken on a pun(k)-tastic journey of sly jabs. (My personal favorite being “Use Your Illusion III (Knock – Knock – Knockin’ on Evan’s Door”). Also accommodating the fun is Punk Celebrity Chris Farren on the cover in-between two brown hounds, suit and all!
For a large portion of Pet Hounds, the tracks remain at a consistent, upbeat pace by the means of standard guitar with light-yet-effective distortion, bass and drum instrumentation. Dare I say, catchy. (Yes, the dreaded ‘c’ word). Weiss, who holds the reigns for lead vocals leaves his signature not-exactly-yelling-or-singing-but-is-kind-of-talking-lyrics-loudly stamp in the process. The sound, overall, is neither redundant nor flashy, but because of this, remains purposeful. With the Summer months approaching, sing-alongs full of harmonized “Woah-oh’s” are imminent.
Lyrically, Weiss continues along his most frequently-visited theme of personal life reflection: Anxiety, routine, and reaction to the coupled two. A theme which is also prevalent on his previous works such as 52 Weeks and PROPER.
“…I spent the last year…” starts the record off, and “While you were waiting around / While I was waiting around,” ends it.
What keeps it interesting is the detail. The left hook to the listener’s right ear from the intro to “Give Thanks (Get Lost)” is as strong as one thrown in a match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier and would make them dumbfounded enough to think, “Holy shit, holy shit, is this going to be a hardcore tune?” The answer resolves to a quick, “No” after picking up, returning to the roots of the record, making one believe that there really are stupid questions after all.
For a record titled in reference to, what is considered to be, one of the best records of all time, there is no particular, “beach” element, which is okay, because they’re plentiful these days anyway. Typical of reviews, it’s standard to make comparisons so previously existing bands, but I found that nearly impossible to do. They are not Beach Boys pt.II. They are not a run-of-the-mill emo project. They are Pet Symmetry, and we’ve been waiting for them.
Favorite Track: Use Your Illusion III (Knock – Knock – Knockin’ on Evan’s Door
Stream the album via AV Club here!
Order the record via Asian Man Records here!
Written by Emily Balcerak (@emilybalcerak)