Review by: Jonathan Moss
So I only got into Pat the Bunny like, literally yesterday, but right now i’m digging his stuff a lot, but then again I kinda purposely decided to go through a folk punk phase before I started listening, for the aesthetic.
I do sincerely enjoy this album a lot though. There’s something very endearing about Pat the Bunny’s style, the simple, derivative acoustic (and occasionally electric) guitar riffs, his scruffy, whiney sing-shouted voice, the funny lyrics, anarcho-socialist lyrics, and of course, the overriding sincerity of it. The music could definitely be called lo-fi, but not in the artsy affected way Pavement were- for like one album, their worst album incidentally- in a ramshackle way. This gives the album its messy charm, like an enthusiastic child playing in a sandpit and throwing sand at the other kids, without meaning anything by it. Well, I just consulted fellow To My Most Alas writer Francelino and he told me he hates sand, so I guess for that simile replace it with whatever you prefer.
I guess I don’t talk about lyrics that much, because I mainly review rock music, and most rock lyrics are garbage, but the lyrics on this album are fantastic! They don’t seem like they were written in maybe more than half an hour but that just speaks for Pat the Bunny’s natural wit and occasional poetic turns of phrase. As I said earlier, Pat is (or was) an anarchist, and anarchist themes frequently pop up, but not in a boring dogmatic Rage Against the Machine way, Pat is a natural anarchist, and consequently something of an individualist, but there’s lots of nice leftist touches, hell, the first song is called “Proudhon in Manhattan”. The lyrics don’t touch solely on that, with lines that are just generally amusing and autobiography. When I first listened to this album I was in a group chat and I repeatedly typed the lyrics that stood out to me in caps locks, so i’m gonna do that here. “A PUNK ROCK SONG WON’T EVER CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT I CAN TELL YOU ABOUT A COUPLE THAT CHANGED ME”, “CAUSE URINE SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS ON A POLITICIAN OR ON A PRISON WARDEN”, “FUCK EVERY COP WHO EVER DID HIS JOB, FUCK EVERY BANK THAT NEVER GOT ROBBED”, “THROW YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR ‘CAUSE PROPERTY IS ROBBERY”, “SO I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD BUT I’M NOT AN ATHEIST”.
Well, that’s me made that paragraph longer and more annoying than it needs to be. A lot of the songs are fuck-catchy as well! The album is mainly comprised of Pat strumming his guitar, and like I said earlier the riffs aren’t particularly original, but Pat knows how to strum his acoustic guitar in an aggressive and catchy way. “Proudhon in Manhattan” is the first track and its a really fun one, especially at the end with the aforementioned “property is robbery” bit. “Fuck Shit Up” is a very good song, it has a great crunchy electric guitar joining in, making it more conventionally punk I guess. The “TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA FUCK SHIT UP” chorus has a jubilant tone to it which makes it a minor feelgood anthem. “For a Girl in Rhinelander, WI”, is a more peaceful melancholic tune, with cute lyrics referencing Kathleen Hanna and Bikini KIll.
I must admit, I really do enjoy the way Pat alternates between singing and shouting. It sounds so organic, like he can’t help it, he just has to shout, and he’s a really good shouter, he can be funny and passionate, depending on the lyric.
Speaking of lyrics, boy are the lyrics on the last song good, and boy is the last song in general good! It’s named “My Idea of Fun” and at six and a half minutes its the longest song on the album. It’s quite a poignant song, with a calming strummed acoustic riff alternating with a pretty, melancholic picked riff. Also I really like the lyric “Like if you don’t want to work, then that becomes your job, there’s a lot of overtime, there’s not many days off, I hope you know that I’m not trying to complain.” The ending of the song is soothing in an almost neofolk way, with a beautiful piano line repeating the pretty guitar melody, wistful horns, chiming bells, violins. It’s just a very pretty wistful song, with philosophical angsty lyrics, you’ll connect to it!
SO, this is a very good album, and its like 29 minutes long. It has endless replay value and a good variety of styles, with great lyrics!