Pet Crow - A Simple Guide To Small And Medium Pond Life (Reckless Yes)

Sounding like Patti Smith fronting MC5 times ten, the Derby group deliver a thrilling debut set

Released Feb 24th, 2017 via Reckless Yes / By Al Judkins
Pet Crow - A Simple Guide To Small And Medium Pond Life (Reckless Yes) Enter: a characterised guitar intro. Crawling from a deep pool of hot spring reverb from which it has been gloriously soaked in, it gently creeps up with palm-muted phrases cut to gleaming chords, unveiling the sheer grit of the tone and the brightness like a sudden spotlight shining down momentarily over a cloud of mist. Though that’s enough mental imagery crap talk already, cue the ballsy drum fill and let’s get stuck in to the electric beauty of an ear assault that is Pet Crow.

Imagine what it would be like if Patti Smith fronted MC5? Okay, now that you’ve conceived that thought: multiply it by ten, stick it in the flux capacitor and set it to a more relevant present day. Add a small percentage of Fugazi and Minutemen along the way, then let a young Karen O sledgehammer it to pieces and we’re nearly there - but just not quite near enough. There’s something uniquely compelling about this band’s approach to sound that you cannot pin down, at least not by naming other acts…

An ever-present sense of abandon runs strongly through the entirety of the LP (the bizarre title is an extra draw, let’s be honest). Unbounded by the rules of melody, Danielle Cotterill’s lead vocals wander free and passionately - yet by no means without purpose or control. Backing vox (mainly provided by bass player Sophie Prosay) tend to cater for the more definite notes, creating a good mix from both singers for that feelgood punk rock aura. Lyrically, the record covers everything from silly to macabre. 'She’s been lying there a while / she thought it was a plastic knife' – are the final lines of opener Harold And Maude before a banshee scream kicks off the pace-driven number She’s Back. It’s more than evident that everyone’s having a ball. Guitarist Sean Kenny’s shameless flying-V weapon invades with cacophonous howling and crashes like rocks crumbling off the coast, with a touch of short delay for additional shudder and tremor. Check the single Pressure Sores for an exemplary slice.

The drumming seems physically demanding and is sonically immense as a result, particularly in Shake It Out (warning any cowbellophobes in advance) and Bazwatch (an ode to the speedo-clad Hoff-meister but entitled towards the drummer himself). Combined with equally resolute bass playing, the rhythm section is locked and firm, but without doubt part of the playground too. Everything is well bound together by a matching energy and principle, also by solid production and fun-capturing skills courtesy of Snug Studios.

ASGTSAMPL is rife with chops, angst and glorious nonsense – surely enough factors to muster a winning formula. Plus, there’s been no time to talk about the fact that this is their first album until now - so if this isn’t enough proof for conviction, listen in and turn it up. Failing that, see them live for further engulfment. Go out and dig it. Dig it hard.