Since Nirvana’s game changing mega stardom redefined alternative as the mainstream, most guitar based music has become somewhat stylised and, even in its most intense forms, there’s often more than the vaguest whiff of formula following. So, it is disconcertingly uncomfortable, but a welcome challenge, to happen across such an imperfect listen as the bruising So Pitted.
This quirky three piece from Seattle, who bonded over a love of mainstream alternative, are a loose combination of self taught musicians who swap instruments, take turns singing, play guitars through bass amps and basically flout all conventions to cook up an invigorating slice of sludgy rage. There’s an air of paranoia and disquiet to the band’s aesthetic that is captured in the angular rhythms and fuzzy guitars; ‘Neo’ boasting eleven powerful bursts of feedback fueled slop in the finest traditions of Sub Pop.
Album opener ‘Cat Scratch’ is all dirty disjointed riffing, clattering rhythms and drawled vocals, kinda like a hyper raw Mudhoney. ‘Pay Attention To Me’ is more urgent and is one of the more instant tracks, with just the vaguest hint of a hook, as the rudimentary bass line hurries along beneath the guitar slaughter. The jarring close to the track leads perfectly into the alarming riff of ‘Woe’ whose feedback tinged guitar lines are cutting and stark in compliment to the simplistic insistence of the vocal pattern, it’s horribly brilliant. This mechanical vocal technique appears on a few tracks, like the disjointed ‘Get Out of My Room’, which turns the intensity up to eleven, and the sinister ‘Feed Me’ with its waves of feedback tinged guitar bashing that wash over the listener.
‘Holding the Void’ has an angry urgency about it and a more indie feel to the guitars, though once again there’s some melody fighting for room in the ripping vocal. This is actually quite a versatile band and there are a number of influences on display, for instance, ‘No Nuke Country’ has a slight punky feel to its swirling rhythms and pounding riffage, while ‘The Sickness’ is very college radio with its the drawled vocal over the uptempo grungy thrashing.
To be honest, there’s not a bad track on Neo, everything works within the context, but it’s an intense listen with plenty of anger on display; ‘I’m Not Over It’ boasting heavy repetitive riffing and offering a rage filled vocal battering. ‘Rot In Hell’ is similarly upset as the throbbing hypnotic bass underscores the histrionic guitar lines. ‘Chop Down That Tree’ brings the album to a fitting end with two minutes of attacking riffs, attacking drums and attacking vocals that combine everything the band has to offer in a resounding finale.
Ok, So Pitted won’t be winning any awards for intricate technique or refined musicianship, but that is so not the point; what you get here is an intense display of noise filled abandon on these eleven cuts of raw emotion, which is precisely what good art should be about. Killer.
You can purchase Neo in various formats right here: