This fierce new Seattle band are fully aware of the illustrious musical past of their hometown. Evidently influenced by the muddy assault of grunge bands like Mudhoney and particularly ‘Bleach’ era Nirvana, So Pitted cram unrelenting minimalist force right down your throat, a cutting blend of monstrous distortion and punk nihilism. Sub Pop is an ideal home for them.
‘Cat scratch’ wastes no time in blowing the doors off, with the chaotic fuzz from Jeannine Koewler’s guitar blasted through a bass amp. Piercing wails of feedback scar the ears throughout the record, never more so than on the hazy love-kills rant of ‘I’m not over it’. Dissonance takes centre stage, meaning the sound is wholly unpredictable, which contributes to the messy excitement So Pitted excel at. This unpredictability means songs can you with grave apprehension – they could snap at any moment, like on the volatile ‘pay attention to me’. This anxiety embedded into So Pitted’s delivery is largely down to the gnarled, abrasive vocals swapped between drummer Liam Downey and guitarist Nathan Rodriguez, particularly evident in the corrosive delivery of ‘holding the void’ – “I’m done with you//when you’re done with me”. Downey’s bullet drumming is a punishing weapon integral to So Pitted’s rage-filled exuberance, and shines throughout ‘neo’, particularly on cuts like ‘no nuke country’, ‘the sickness’ and ‘get out of my room’. Urgency is found throughout ‘neo’, with the motoric drums forming one spike of a three pronged trident of attack, combining with diseased splutters of guitar and desolate vocals to produce a toxic onslaught, complementing each other perfectly on ‘the sickness’ in particular. ‘Feed me’ is a hunched over, wound of a song, the ominous hopelessness embodied perfectly by sketchy, scrawling guitar work. Both ‘woe’ and ‘rot in hell’ are a tad bland amongst the rest of the songs, showcasing how the lyricism could do with some improvement, yet other than that there is little wrong with the record. ‘Get out of my room’ sees robotic drumming fill unsettling pauses, juxtaposed perfectly next to storms of wild instrumentation; before So Pitted go out with a bang on the havoc-inducing blitz of ‘chop down that tree’.
The album does lack variation, however this is not an issue on a short and sweet statement of intent (neo clocks in at 28 minutes), particularly when the sludge-y, vitriolic screech of So Pitted leaves its roar lingering in the ear-drums. Crank it up loud.