On PWR BTTM’s “Ugly Cherries”, the Hudson-based queer punk duo Ben Hopkins and Oliver Bruce remind listeners that punk doesn’t have to be no-nonsense and bone-grinding, instead, they’re here to showcase a different punk, one that’s more pop and melodic.
Following the laser beam guitar solo that recalls various 90s pop punk luminaries, “Ugly Cherries” immediately breaks into singer/guitarist Ben Hopkins’ sheepish vocals, evoking the feeling of waking up to sunlight bleeding through the blinds, two in the afternoon. But this sheepishness eventually gives way to high voltage shouting as the fuzzy solo-happy guitar harmonizes with the vocals. “He’s alright!” Hopkins shouts repeatedly, an affirmation of gender- and self- identity in a stagnantly binary world. “Ugly Cherries” is decidedly not angry, acting instead as self-care music for the Tumblr generation. And that the previous sentence reads like a diss might just mean we need more uncynical bands like PWR BTTM.
PWR BTTM’s debut, Ugly Cherries, is out this September from Miscreant + Father/Daughter Records.