Born forth from the mundane misery of modern life and the hedonistic escapism of punk, Colchester's Pet Needs are a band that crash through the canon of punk with the speed and vigour of a raging bull drunk on the finest Buckfast. An exploding powerhouse of rebellious adolescent energy, the group have spent the last several years establishing their manic take on the genre within the confines of the live stage, offering unhinged and reckless amalgamations of every shade of punk under the umbrella to those fortunate enough to be besieged by them. Whilst their live show may be impossible to witness right now, the group have recently decanted such fermented energy into their recently released debut LP Fractured Party Music.
Out now via Xtra Mile, the record is a brakeless charge through the sounds of punk that's aplomb with charm, wise pundits and ruminations on life in modern England. With that in mind, we got in touch with vocalist Johnny Marriott to break down Fractured Party Music, track by track.
"The lyrics came after I walked out of a job interview second question. It was the day after I’d seen Against Me! in Nottingham, driven home to Essex then jumped on the train to London after 2 hours sleep, definitely not ready to interview for a job I didn’t want. Second question in I stood up, inspired by the show the night before and said, “Sorry, I’m not really in the mood to sell myself today”, then walked out What people don’t know is I cried on the tube on the way home."
"Sonically, we wanted the start of our album to feel uncomfortable and overwhelming, like the 20 seconds before you hit the stage."
Tracey Emin's Bed
"My Facebook memories let me know that it’s a year since this song was conceived. “The Pet Needs Quarantine Acoustic EP begins… unless we can still band practice. Then we can make it noisy.” We made it noisy."
"I found the chorus lyric drunkenly scrawled in my notepad after a night out. I initially wrote this as an acoustic number and there’s a demo floating around with midi-strings in the background. As soon as we were able to practice again, we turned it into a dance punk song and it became what it was. WE HAVE STILL NEVER PLAYED IT LIVE! Jeez. Roll on the future!"
Sympathetic Accent Syndrome
"I went to uni in Norwich and when I returned to Derby my brother George thought I was putting on an accent. Turns out I subconsciously imitate people and through osmosis take on their accents."
"George has since moved to Essex and kept his broad Midlands drawl. I wish I had. It worked for the Arctic Monkeys"
"This tune was written on the M1 on the way back from our mum’s house. She’s used the same brand of toothpaste since I was a kid and every time I use it, staring at my reflection in the bathroom mirror next to my childhood bedroom, I’m thrown back to being an anxious little kid trying to make sense of the world. The video for this tune was so much fun, with kids from a local drama school playing us."
"Fun fact – my mum’s friends have since been asking her which brand of toothpaste she has always used. She has no idea."
"Written after missing an old frenemy and not knowing where they went."
"I find this tune so much fun to play live. For a music video for an early incarnation of the tune we strapped a Go-Pro to our mate’s head and documented his chaotic night in a Pet Needs crowd."
"I love the breakdown in this. It’s so heavy! It’s weird to hear tunes turn out like this, because I write most of them on acoustic guitar, then the band build them into something momentous. This is a great example of a small idea becoming something huge."
As The Spin Cycle Span
"Based on a true story about a man who came to fix my washing machine. We drafted in Malachi Siner-Cheverst on cello to bring the tune to life. We’ve done a couple of live streams since the album came out and this has always been my favourite to perform. I’m curious to see if it’d be able to silence a busy punk bar…"
"OK. So my brother and our bassist were obsessed (maybe that’s an exaggeration?) with a specific clothing label, who were new, doing cheap clothes, and aggressively marketing their offers on Facebook. At the same time, I was struggling with my own mental health and heard on a podcast about these motivational YouTube videos you could watch."
"This song was born when I was watching a video telling me I was in charge or my own destiny, and a targeted advert for these shirts popped up! My gosh. The motivational videos didn’t work, but we got a song out of it!"
"We bought a Kayak off the internet. Headed down the river. Ended up paddling through a slipstream of sewage.
It was a disgusting and unforgettable adventure."
"This song began as a finger-picked acoustic number and grew into a folk-punk party track. It references loads of our old songs, turn them on their head and spits them back out again. Only a few people have noticed this."
"This is the second and third (Duchamp and Damien Hirst) time that artists are referenced in our work. I’m definitely interested but not massively knowledgeable about art… just went through a phase of finding comparisons I found interesting."
"Within the first month of lockdown we found ourselves in a state of panic. Everything was being ripped away from us and we were desperately trying to find creative purpose and drive."
"We went on Instagram Live and announced that we were going to write and release a new song within 8 hours. What ensued was a day full of stress, panic and drop-D riffs. What we produced was Roses."
"This tune was built from a true line about my Nana’s funeral: “I didn’t know what to wear to your funeral and ended up looking like a New Romantic.”"
"Weirdly, as this song grew, more people we knew passed and the tune became ever-more poignant. I’m a huge Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds fan and we were influenced by their talent to grow and swell songs based around only a few chords. I love that our album ends with a whisper."