Time to Go Home
Reviewed by: Max Miller
Don’t let the Sears Portrait Studio press photos fool you; Seattle’s Chastity Belt harbor a darkness that runs deeper than their bubblegum-pop imagery, much like label mates Tacocat and Colleen Green. Beneath the veneer of surf-rock sunshine that coats Time to Go Home, the group’s sophomore effort, lies a heartbreaking sadness that radiates like pain through an open wound. Chastity Belt convey the kind of angst that descends upon young people as they transition into adulthood and realize the problems of their youth don’t really ever go away, but rather intensify in new, twisted directions. And while their message is tailored to speak to young women via casual, almost understated (yet still powerful) feminism, Chastity Belt’s lyrics speak to people all along the oft-confusing spectrum of gender.
Vocalist/guitarist Julia Shapiro drops lyrical gems in nearly every song. “Why are we so concerned with endings? We can’t be happy for a while,” she sings on “Trapped”. On “Drone” she complains of “just another man trying to teach [her] something.” “IDC” and “Why Try”, as the titles suggest, are mini-anthems dedicated to just plain giving up. Shapiro composes melodies, both vocally and on the guitar with fellow axe-slinger Lydia Lund, that perfectly underscore Time’s sense of barely-suppressed melancholy, and the guitars are given room to jam out on extended cuts like “On the Floor” and “Joke”. Overall, it’s a marked evolution for a band that once wrote a song about not dating a guy because his ponytail made him look like Steven Seagal (even if that song was awesome…and even if that’s pretty good advice).