Published May 31, 2017Seattle's Chastity Belt made a splash in 2015 with their sophomore full-length release Time to Go Home, whose goofy, sex-positive lyrics and post-punk style set the band apart from the indie scene.
For their third LP, the foursome dive a bit deeper to unveil the insecurities that surface after parties end, when friends go home. I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone is an accurate depiction of the lull and forced introspection that follows the second adolescence that is early adult independence; new desires emerge, and on this record, it seems that Chastity Belt wish to be taken more seriously — both by themselves and others.
Vulnerability is nothing new for the quartet, who've admitted and shared their shortcomings and sins in the past; what's different about this album is the palpable discomfort with their lack of perceived progress in life, which also matches their post-punk leanings more than before. On "Something Else," Julia Shapiro admits "I want to do something cool, I want to get paid, and wake up feeling great every day," a pretty identifiable sentiment that's been felt by every young person at one point or another.
The vocals on songs like "What the Hell" and "It's Obvious" sound trapped, and echo a helplessness that belongs to anyone who has ever felt aimless or confined by their own stubborn temperament. Shapiro aptly expresses the social duality of want and disinterest on "What the Hell" when she sings "If I look at my phone again, I'll just want to die / Besides that, I feel alright."
Chastity Belt target the ambiguity of self-improvement in a very earnest fashion, without any trace of self-pity or outward blame, on "Complain," where Shapiro sings, "I should quit my job and get a life." Later, she says she's, "already in the scene and there is comfort in routine," only to admit "I'm not okay, I want to complain." The band are building on the work of bands like Joy Division and the Smiths, who dispelled the notion that insecurity is a passing teenage phase that adults are immune to.
I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone skilfully expresses complex and murky emotions with clear and concise lyrics. Shapiro and Lydia Lund expand on their past guitar-tangling accomplishments with understated exchanges, while Annie Truscott remains the backbone of the ensemble with sturdy bass lines.
Final track "5am" is the only song here that fully displays the wholehearted drumming of Gretchen Grimm, whose sticks and pedals invigorated many tracks on Time to Go Home. All the same, Chastity Belt can rest assured that the world will enjoy both the lighter and darker side of what they have to offer here. (Sub Pop)