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Some bands names jump out at you like a shark breaching the water. For instance, when you see a band name like PWR BTTM, one can only sink their teeth into the bait. It's too good to ignore. Even better, then, that this band turn out to be as bold and alluring as the name itself.

If you haven't already twigged, PWR BTTM express their queerness in a particularly unabashed form. The name is intended as a witty, if heavy-handed, statement of empowerment, much like their queer punk forefathers Pansy Division and Limp Wrist. PWR BTTM, however, take a nuanced and tender approach elsewhere. Through their lyrics they breathe new life into angsty punk rock, which has the tendency to feel stale and hollow (with a few notable exceptions) and their strident melodies could (and should) break them outside of the queer punk fish tank to hunt in bigger waters.

This vitality isn't terribly surprising considering the glitter drenched, lipstick smeared, wig-wearing duo behind the music. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins formed PWR BTTM whilst studying at Bard University in upstate NY three years ago, with the intention to perform at a local queer music event that eventually didn't come to fruition. This non-event didn't deter them and they continued to write. After two EPs (one a split with Jawbreaker Union) their debut LP marks a shift in gear in the depth of the songwriting abilities.

The resonance across Ugly Cherries lies primarily with the memorable turn of phrases or the fresh (read: queer) perspectives on old stories. Lines tend to crawl down your ear canal to take root up inside the brain. On the brief opening number, 'Short-Lived Nightmare', the last line sneaks in, "I'm queerer than the brightest day." The record is packed with life-giving moments like this. 'House In Virginia', a listless love song, describes an amorous subject as "Gaymazing". Both lines come out of nowhere, and have such a vivid message of self-love that they feel destined for a new life in the pages of queer zines the world over.

The Gossip-esque 'Diary Queen' follows in a similar fashion, this time addressing youthful apathy, "We can do our make up in the parking lot. We can get so famous that we both get shot. But right now, I'm in the shower." Humour is an underused tool in the songwriter's toolbox but Liv and Ben, as they switch taking the lead vocals, use it to great effect. There is pathos too. '1994' feels distinctively cold, with its matter-of-fact diary entry description of feeling numb, whilst 'West Texas', which accuses a former partner of seeking escape "to avoid all of your ex's," is delivered with a donkey-punch of emotional intensity in the way only a power-pop song can.

There is one band that looms large over this record, and that band is Weezer. 'I Wanna Boi' has more than a whiff of the bright, power-pop fuzz of 'Sweater Song' mixed with 'Beverly Hills'. The song's subject matter is a paean to misplaced romantic entitlement, ending with a craigslist-ad-style plea, "If you think you're the boy for me and I'm the boy for you, drop me a line at ob8149@bard.edu. Tell me a bit about yourself and send a picture or two." That is Ben's real email address, in case you are tempted. The shredding on 'All The Boys' and 'Ugly Cherries' adds to Weezer feels. It's perhaps not ideal to drift so far into Cuomo's lane but it's not exactly a bad thing either.

The core of this record, and the DNA of PWR BTTM, can arguably be found on 'Serving Goffman'. "I held my breath in a suit and tie 'cos I didn't know I could fight back. I wanna put the whole world in drag but I'm starting to feel it's already like that." As an ever-greater number of communities (but globally speaking, relatively few) come to understand ideas of gender and sexual fluidity, and the performative nature of those two things, this line feels both zeitgeisty and reassuringly personal. Ugly Cherries is not an abstract album. It's an album to see you through hard times - your mundane job, oppressive hometown, bad break-ups, whatever. It's an album to get fucked up to with friends. It's fun, it's queer and your straight friends will like it too because, ultimately, it's about being less alone. Everyone can relate to that. And the world genuinely feels like a brighter place with PWR BTTM in it.

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