The tagline (yep, it’s got a tagline!) of Personal Best’s second album, What You At, is “classic rock for tragic lesbians”. And I can’t think of a greater summary. It’s sweet and spiky, sad and uplifting. And it’s going to soundtrack a lot of break-ups.
Opener ‘Just Friends’ sets the tone. It starts out like a torch song – all acoustic guitar and raw emotion – but soon engulfs into crunchy rock riffs. The album has sadder, slower moments, like ‘Near To The Wildheart’ and closer ‘Salute’, but with front-person Katie Gatt’s powerful voice and lyrics, it remains an angry, empowering record.
Standout ‘Radio’ is a proper stomper, as is the single, ‘Baby’. When Gatt sings “I’m getting better”, backed by frenetic, punky guitars and pure pop harmonies, you really believe her. The album’s penultimate song, ‘One More Thing’, brings the record to a silly, splashy crescendo, which begs to be turned up to 11, Spinal Tap-style. I can almost picture the band playing it live, doing that classic rock, duelling guitars thing, and having an awesome time doing it.
It makes me so happy to see Personal Best stomping all over a traditionally male genre with their tongue firmly in their cheeks. As far as break-up albums go, What You At isn’t about feeling sorry for yourself. It’s the equivalent of a messy night out with the people you love. It’s sticky dancefloors and Strongbow; it’s crying on your best friend’s shoulder and putting the world to rights on the nightbus home.
A perfect fusion of wit, honest emotion and luscious harmonies, What You At will leave you elevated and ready to take on the world, break-up or no break-up.
What You At is out now via Sheer Luck Records/Dovetown Records. Order here.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Doveton