The Regrettes | January 13, 2017 | Rating: 8.5/11 |
By today’s musical (let alone by traditional punk rock) standards, at 46 minutes The Regrettes’ debut Feel Your Feelings Fool! is a long ass record but that’s probably because the teenage, not yet legal-to-drink Los Angeles quartet had a lot of shit to say with zero urge to bite their collective tongues: perhaps they’re not old enough to have developed the very grown up and self-conscious habit of self-censure. A sip from a juice box to lubricate the vocal cords and front woman Lydia Night (vox/guitar) steps up and rips with an inner dialogue that is as exuberant as it is explicit as it is charming as hell. Yes, Night is talking about her period and stretch marks. Ughh. I know, right? But those minor blips on the womanhood radar aren’t enough to daunt her Jay Z-like, side-to-side stride. Yeah, she went there.
As The Regrettes, Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Chavis (bass) and Maxx Morando (drums) and Night are relative new kids on the band block, but in true punk rock fashion, here is a band taking on the ills that society imposes upon its most delicate members by flipping said society the fuck off. And there’s much to appreciate here from the sturdy yet full of punch garage rock-feel to the ability to adeptly weave lo-fi, surf rock and girl group doo wop cool into the mix with pretty wickedly structured songs. But possibly the most compelling aspect is the fact that the adult (young and otherwise) concerns are so forcefully tackled head-on and allusion-free. Words have strength especially when in their rawest, unfiltered and – as in the case of The Regrettes – feminine form and it’s nothing short of their rendition of speaking truth to power. Lopsided gender expectations, condescension, ageism, peer-to-peer bitchiness, and the general burdens that come with not being a boy are the mean, glass ceiling things thrashed out with earnest, fuzzy guitar, brash pop-punk with a retro sheen and seemingly effortless, conversational, in-your-face lyrical honesty and vulnerability. Oddly and lyrically speaking (bear with me), think Morrissey’s musical diary-method of a catalogue but with way less unlovable mopiness.
Every punk and rock band whom The Regrettes have been comparably namechecked against is valid; they should be proud of that. Earlier I speculated that if you’ve any worries about the nature of today’s teen spirit, here is a band that may deliver a salvaging assist, and they’ve done that plus a bit more. With its perfectly rough edges, ballsy candor and musicianship exceeding its creators’ individual years, Feel Your Feelings Fool! rings as much as an indictment against as a manifesto for: against all of the tiresome bullshit that weighs a living human girl down and for individual empowerment even at the tender age of 15.
Essentials: “A Living Human Girl,” “Seashore,” “Picture Perfect,” “Bronze,” “Ladylike/WHATTA BITCH”