After a good year of ’80s DIY fans forming punk bands to pay forward that fanatical excitement they felt when first hearing Black Flag or Husker Du, Nottingham’s Prize Pets arrive with an all-too-absent ingredient – anti-stardom. Amongst the recent glut of hardcore/lo-fi bands, many are quite brilliant, but most are also too cool to ever give you that ‘this band is just for me’ feeling. Prize Pets’ front man – neat quiff up top, plain blue hoodie in the middle and non-descript coffee coloured trousers below – won’t even face the audience, instead watching his band from within the crowd, shaking his shoulders and occasionally hopping in a circle. He’s out-dressed – as are his band – by the east London regulars who, cleaners or bankers, look more like rock stars than him. But they are not yelling a deep and refreshingly non-faux American, Bryan Ferry-esque yell, piecing together pop melodies one minute and ranting in reverb to Misson of Burma garage riffs the next. They’re not Good Shoes and The Stooges. They’re not awkward but likable, or baffling but definitely compelling. That’s what the great DIY bands were and is why Prize Pets – a band before they are models for carefully constructed ‘vintage’ looks – could easily be your favourite new guitar band.
By Stuart Stubbs
Originally published in issue 14 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. February 2010