After their critically acclaimed debut full-length, Hell Bent, Massachusetts band Potty Mouth releases their self-titled EP. Although just two years separate the releases, a lot has changed. The front cover of the EP is the first of their releases to feature a photo of the band members. This is perhaps to re-introduce the band to their audience. The once four piece is now down to three members but that’s just scratching the surface. Unlike the messy cover of Hell Bent, this cover is clean and organized. The band members are relaxing while bracketed in by two thick black borders; one border featuring a fairly banal dalmatian logo and the other with the EP’s track listing. It is not a cover that says much of anything.
From the first notes of the opening track and lead single “Cherry Picking,” there is something very different about Potty Mouth. Gone is the sense of urgency, the punk ethos, and the DIY flare. Instead it is replaced with a surprisingly polished image. A steady mid-tempo guitar chugs along while distorted vocals repeat the words “fresh, sweet, cool, sleek.” Over this lead singer Abby Weems shows off her new vocal style. No longer a monotone punk chanteuse, the vocals come out slow, deliberate, and clean. The song mainly about being authentic to oneself and not letting others define you which seems to be a major theme on the EP.
“The Bomb” rings out like a 90s mid-tempo banger that would fit into Veruca Salt‘s back catalog. The chorus of the song basically explains the entire message: “I dropped a bomb and the bomb was me.” Another anthem about a sense of self being celebrated.
While these messages of being and celebrating yourself are admirable, the way they are presented in the album comes out a little emotionless. There is no snarl. There is little angst. There is just pretty music with catchy hooks. Thusly, it does not feel like a Potty Mouth album but my guess is they don’t care about that and that’s the point.