First E.P.s are a funny business, they come from a band who are looking to impress. Whether it’s getting onto the radar, proving they have can produce a viable product, or creating their first (and sometimes only) snapshot of their own flavour of music, they come at a crucial time. They come at a time of many firsts- first gigs, first lineups, first songs, and with that comes palpable excitement. With this collection of tracks, is certainly energy, but is any nuance or clarity lost in the flurry? The saying is that you have forever to write your first album, but often the fast-track nature of an E.P. is that they are far from the finished article, as if they’re good enough, tracks will inevitably wind up re-recorded on the full-length with all the bells and whistles that we have come to expect. It will be interesting to see where on the spectrum this outing will be.
The first thought I had when listening for the first time, was that the E.P. has a very raw vibe to it, and Femme-Grunge wasn’t far off the mark. Labelling yourself like that can be risky, as you potentially limit your audience, and give a whole load of pre-conceptions about what every song is going to be like. However, I actually feel that Bitch Theme most certainly have shown they have a solid grasp on how to write songs that sound really different, even using the same palate. The jump between the sections on “Tigerlilly” showed off a real control of dynamics, where there is even more of a contrast between the assault of “Tigerlilly” and say “House Parties Suck”, which takes a more laid back approach, resting very much on the melodic vocals and washy chords. It really cleans the pallet again, ready for the final track “Goblin Market”.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t 100% at all times on if there was a meaning or message tied into each song, with the exception of course being “House Parties Suck”, which made no bones about what it was dealing with. “Little Pickle” has a very blunt delivery, and is aimed at one or several humans in particular with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but beyond the imagery of small pickles, there seemed to be quite a bit of nuance in there if you take it from the view of a frustrated partner (who is most definitely “Not your sweetheart”), who is sick of being put down, or is tired of being seen as “little” and something to be “embarrassed” of. Or perhaps the meaning does just stop at genitals, it’s hard to be certain…
Personally with the short attention-span nature of E.P. releases, it seems like an oversight putting “Goblin Market” at the end of anything, even something this short; I felt like it had a really strong vibe, and showed off the sound that they describe themselves as having- a very Fugazi-esque, thrashing roar mingling between some very tense points in the building pressure of the verses. That said, the guitar parts on “Tigerlilly” are definitely a strong point, as there is a strong melody throughout, with the guitar and vocals locked together over the growling bass. If it was perhaps cut down a bit, it would make a solid single if they were pursuing that route later on, and I can imagine it being quite a lot of fun to play live. In my opinion, Bitch Theme have a grand job of showing off what they could pull off with more time writing, and also demonstrated that they’ve already got in terms of potential of a live set.
On the whole, I would definitely recommend giving this E.P. a metaphorical spin if music with a bit of an edge and a darker twist on punk-rock is your cup of tea. There is a lot of potential here, and I definitely look forward to hearing what’s next for Bitch Theme. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is very much a new band, and there is of course a lot of polish which can only be obtained through playing these songs a bunch more times, and spending even more time in a studio with that extra bit of confidence with parts. That said, they have a lot to be proud of, especially having this kind of material together and recorded in such a short time- most of the rough edges can really be forgiven or attributed to the self-motivated approach which seems to give this E.P. it’s unapologetic spirit.