Potty Mouth – Hell Bent

written by: September 8, 2013
Album-art-for-Hell-Bent-by-Potty-Mouth Release Date: September 17, 2013


In a recent interview with Stereogum, Potty Mouth’s own Ally Einbinder boldly declares, “GENDER DOES NOT EQUAL GENRE.” It seems like an obvious statement, but in reality, gender has historically bordered many music sub-genres and styles.

Whether we box female indie songstresses in the same playlist or assign the riot grrrl label to any all female punk band, gender does indeed placate how we think and talk about music—a concern to Einbinder and her bandmates. Why can’t four women rock the fuck out just as hard as Japandroids or Titus Andronicus?

It is no surprise, then, that Potty Mouth’s own reluctance with the riot grrrl label has caught the attention of many. This, along with its tireless touring of the Northeast and beyond, has gained the group a hardened reputation in many punk circles dotting the East and the South.

Now, on the precipice of its first full length album, Hell Bent, Potty Mouth looks to take its well-oiled touring machine into our headphones.

Catchy harmonized vocals and surf punk strumming are the calling card of Potty Mouth, who roll through Hell Bent with a fervor thought to be long lost in the basements of ’90s suburban punk shows.

There’s “The Spins,” which sounds like the best conflation of deep cuts from those record label samples you got at Warped Tour in 2003 (looking at you, Vagrant) and the daze-y lo-fi of today (repurposed from 1991-1996), complete with the prediction, “It’s hard to say no, ’cause you think we’ll be ok till you’re lying on the floor.”

“Damage,” the lead single on Hell Bent, drives with the fervor of angsty punk in one of the most vulnerable, honest moments in the genre this year. Over a trudging guitar line and fuzzy drums, the unfiltered Einbinder sings, “I’m too young to help someone who’s grown.”

As young as the group members may be (they formed in 2011 through their interactions in and around Smith College and the surrounding punk scene), there is a definite comfort and confidence in their own skins.

The album has its good moments, like the snotty strut of “Shithead” and the dreamy guitars in “Black and Studs,” but mainly runs along the same course, with the same formula.

Hell Bent’s main issue is its slight monotony. There are definitely moments of brilliance, but sometimes the album just doesn’t seem bent on hell enough; still, it’s nothing to detract significantly from the overall product and Potty Mouth’s own aura.

It will be interesting to see how Potty Mouth will come out upon the release of its debut full length. Hell Bent is a clinic in DIY rock, complete with less than extraordinary musicality, suburban lyrics, and hazy production.

But that’s the point, really. The recording, the music, the attitude, is all deliberate. It is supposed sound like you’re standing in one of the many basements and empty warehouses that Potty Mouth has championed on weekends for the past couple of years, and that’s what makes these four girls worth the listen. There is potential for a very wide appeal, but certainly Potty Mouth will be happy to hand the DIY kids something they’ll love.

Potty Mouth  – Hell Bent tracklist:

  1. “The Gap”
  2. “Rusted Shut”
  3. “Black and Studs”
  4. “Sleep Talk”
  5. “The Spins”
  6. “Damage”
  7. “Wishlist”
  8. “Bullseye”
  9. “Shithead”
  10. “The Bitter End”