Jemina Pearl moves past Be Your Own Pet with fierce, rollicking solo debut

Maybe it was inevitable that Be Your Own Pet break up. The Nashville garage-rockers were a volatile group from the start, thanks to the members’ young ages and the full-bore, high-impact music they played with ferocious abandon. It made for terrific, often unforgettable live performances, but how long can that sort of thing endure?

About four years, as it turns out. The group announced its dissolution in August 2008, but the individual members weren’t done making music: other projects include the bands Turbo Fruits and JEFF the Brotherhood, along with a solo career for singer Jemina Pearl.

She was the accelerant fueling the highly flammable mixture that was Be Your Own Pet. On her own, Pearl is akin to a perpetual motion machine on “Break it Up” (Ecstatic Peace/Universal), her solo debut. The record features help throughout from BYOP drummer John Eatherly, who co-wrote all the songs and played most of the instruments,

Pearl barrels through these 13 songs with savage glee, singing with menacing sweetness as she tries to get out of her own head on “After Hours,” celebrates the trashy side of her hometown on “Nashville Shores” (featuring Thurston Moore on guitar) and makes an exception for duet partner Iggy Pop on the vintage garage-pop tune “I Hate People.”

The songs here are packed full of bright buzzsaw guitars and fast, simple punk-rock drum beats with all the manic energy of Be Your Own Pet’s best tunes. The difference here is the greater emphasis on structure. Credit for that goes to producer John Agnello, who helped Pearl and Eatherly shape and tighten the tunes into lean, lacerating rockers that help ensure Jemina Pearl remains a sonic force to be reckoned with.

— Eric R. Danton

Suck it, Universal

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