Walla Walla’s finest Chastity Belt have long had a knack for tearing down gender’s flimsy constructions with a toppling demolition ball of mockery. Their ‘No Regerts’ debut - complete with purposeful keyboard-bashing typos in the title - notably featured a joyful chant of “Pussy! Weed! Beer!” on its lyric sheet. Follow-up, ‘Time To Go Home’, took down slut-shaming and mansplaining with gleeful abandon.
Album three - ‘I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone’ - takes a different tact, focusing less on humour, and more on the band’s ability to channel malaise, nonchalance, boredom and procrastination onto the wax. Moments like ‘Happiness’ (from their debut) might’ve touched on these themes, but on ‘I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone,’ reflection takes centre stage. Sonically, it’s suitably introspective, lines of melody tangling around one another, and teasing multiple snagging hooks out of the haze. Lyrically, too, this record is centred on questions that can’t be answered, and a nothingness that can’t be filled. “I wanna wake up feeling great, every single day - is that too much to ask,” wonders a sleepy-eyed Julia Shapiro on ‘Something Else,’ before concluding she’s an idiot a few lines later. Similar levels of contradiction power ‘Used to Spend,’ too. “Stop making sense, start acting dumb, I wanna have some self control, I wanna be sincere,” it says, all at once.
‘I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone’ isn’t as callow as previous Chastity Belt records, and intentionally so, fully digging up the sadness that always lay ever-dormant beneath their tinny-swigging chaos, and leaving behind biting mockery for something that feels vaguer, and also more universal.