New York punks Perfect Pussy are making waves
Perfect Pussy, at first glance, isn’t necessarily among one of the most inviting band names I’ve ever seen. When I first told a friend about the Syracuse, NY band, she winced a little bit, and she seemed slightly reluctant when telling me that she would check them out. When I got to really thinking about it, though, I came to the realization that most of the time, whenever an artist chooses to utilize a private part in their work, people are quick to feel uncomfortable or apprehensive. But here, the band is obviously glorifying the female genitalia, not using it to deter or upset an audience. Singer Meredith Graves explains that “[A]fter all this time I’ve spent being harsh on myself, it’s validating to finally be ready to turn a corner and say, ‘I’m perfect and I’m not going to go on thinking that I’m supposed to dislike myself.’” This, to me, is a bold and honest sentiment, and the whole idea behind their name is symbolic of their music as a whole.
Upon first listening to the band’s demo debut tape, I Have Lost All Desire for Feeling, the listener is met with a lot of abrasive sounds and indiscernible vocals, which may make Perfect Pussy seem like they are trying to create a wall between them and their audience, or even push some of us away. But upon further examination, the lyrics are actually excruciatingly honest and beautiful, and when you really strip down their songs, you start to realize that they are largely built upon inviting power-pop guitar hooks, albeit sped up and strewn under layers of noise and distortion. With lines like “In the absence of everything, I found all things”; “I am awake and awakening”; “I’ll die a thousand times to prove I’m living”; and “There’s a sick grace inherent in healing,” Graves is able to stir up moments of philosophy and spirituality while also acknowledging very vivid and visceral feelings of what it is like to be alive and in touch with your emotions.
Sitting on a rare, slim line between abrasiveness and beauty, Perfect Pussy are able to blur the distinction between over-sharing and merely trying to be truthful, creating both a literal and figurative evocation of the term “brutal honesty.” Graves speaks in one interview about the aesthetics of her band, explaining, “We’re, like, really nice… It’s like our calling card: We’re the nicest fucking band in punk.” On one hand, this statement is inviting and sentimental, but at the very same time, her use of profanity, coupled with the fact that they are consciously upholding the rawness of punk aesthetics, shows that they are not afraid to fall on either or even both sides of the coin. This is precisely how their debut tape unfolds, and with their ability to evoke such complexities in a total running time of merely 12 minutes, Perfect Pussy have me simultaneously satisfied with the present and excitedly hopeful for the future, emitting a rather large and deserved ‘blip’ on my radar.
Check out their debut tape here
Written by Darren Carter. Tune into the Burner every Monday night from 10-midnight on 90.7fm KJHK.