Chastity Belt – I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone
Seattle post-punk rockers Chastisty Belt have become known for their blend of Riot Grrl-style politics and irreverent humour. However, their third album sees them take a leap of faith towards a more melancholy tone, stripping back the irony and the brashness to get at something a lot more tender.
The album title I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone sets the key for the record as a whole, and refers to lead singer Julia Shapiro's feelings of loneliness before joining the band and forming a tight friendship with the other members. Unsurprisingly, given that loneliness and friendship are estalished as key themes from the get-go, the record delves some serious emotional impact.
On Different Now the listener is taken through the trials of growing up, with Shapiro's unpolished voice delivering unadorned pearls of wisdom like 'You're hard on yourself / You can't always be right'. The heavier This Time of Night and Shapiro's increasingly emotional vocals catapult the listener into the depths of a deliciously dark despair. However, third track Stuck, sung and written by drummer Gretchen Grimm, is more ambivalent, with a hazier sound.
This release marks a new sense of sincerity and authenticity for the band and the thematic issues which the lyrics raise are vocalised in a wonderfully relatable manner, free of any flounce or artifice. However, without humour the album feels a bit flat and even overly morose. Rather than riding along on a wave of sound, you can't help but feel like you're trapped under a hostile current.
Listen to: Different Now, This Time of Night