Image: Vanessa Sollner

Pet Needs explore the experience of touring in explosive new album Intermittent Fast Living

Intermittent Fast Living is the third album by Essex-based Pet Needs. Best described as explosive, the band continues the sound they honed on Fractured Party Music and Primetime Entertainment. However, in comparison to their previous efforts, Intermittent Fast Living has refined its themes and focus, namely the rollercoaster of life on the road. This makes the album feel much more cohesive than what came before, yet it still maintains their narrative lyrical style, which was a highlight of their prior albums.

Pet Needs burst into the live music scene playing punk shows whilst on tour with acts like Frank Turner, The Lottery Winners, and Flogging Molly. The punk stylings of their music are driven by strong instrumentation and energetic vocals. Intermittent Fast Living perfects these stylings.

Lead single ‘Separation Anxiety’ serves as an introduction to the album, concerned with love for singer Johnny Marriott’s wife, and how this is heightened by touring experience. Playfully singing “Loving you even more than our dog does/ Woof woof” injects an undercurrent of fun into the album. Yet the song remains serious and reflective, an insight into what is yet to come on the album.

‘Burning Building’ exemplifies the all-or-nothing nature of the industry

This state of love is placed in opposition to internal reflections in ‘The Optimist’, which depicts a sense of stagnation and self-destruction that we can all fall into. Straddling the issues of life in a band and dealing with your mental health, lyrically the song provides moments of doubt and reassurance. Musically ‘The Optimist’ is very well suited to the themes of the album. One standout is the drums, pounding on relentlessly throughout the track, carrying it forward into an ending that is reminiscent of 70s and 80s punk, as Marriott’s vocals are layered over a chanting of “Na Na Na Na”.

Touring is explored thematically on ‘Trip’ and ‘Burning Building’. While ‘Burning Building’ is a personal favourite from the album, ‘Trip’ has a more optimistic take on touring, which is a joy to listen to. Paired together the songs work as two sides of the same coin. ‘Trip’ is cheerful, looking towards the future. “Here we go now/ Another trip round the world for us,” the track begins and repeats throughout the choruses, demonstrating the raw excitement that the future offers the band. In terms of track order, the contrast between ‘Trip’ and the subsequent ‘Burning Building’ was a fantastic choice. ‘Burning Building’ uses the metaphor of a collapsing building in the music industry, which feels very apt, particularly from the artist’s point of view. Its instrumentation is a calculated descent into chaos, making it the most explosive track on the album. Climaxing with an impressive guitar solo from George Marriott, this song exemplifies the all-or-nothing nature of the industry.

The other principal theme that comes alongside touring is love – both for home and the road. ‘Self-Restraint’ is a charming example of this.  The song has a simplistic storyline about having less self-restraint than a dog that is being trained. There is a great deal of affection for the “little dog” at the heart of this track. Another example of this love is the narratively driven ‘Lucid’. Opening with respite from the furious pace of the album, it uses acoustic guitar before launching into a celebration of love, whilst not straying too far away from the insecurities that litter Pet Needs’ discography. Lyrics from the middle eight, “Be beautifully broken together/ Cos you make me feel so strong” best encapsulate these feelings. When you’re not okay, everything can be made better with the right person by your side.

Pet Needs managed to outdo themselves in terms of production quality and lyricism

Another standout track is the closing track, ‘Buried Together’ arguably the band’s best-crafted narrative-driven song yet. It’s a nostalgic love song, looking forward to the future, which for the protagonist is death. Despite the approaching march of death, the song remains positive: “We’ve had a charmed life/ Let’s keep a good thing going”. The slower pace of the song offers a change from the uncompromising sound of the rest of the album, mirroring how love can offer relief from life’s stresses. Overall, a perfect way to end the album.

From a production standpoint, Intermittent Fast Living stands far above Pet Needs’ previous efforts. The sound is clear throughout while still managing to persevere the characteristic punk aspects of the album – a testament to George Perks’ prowess as a producer.

Intermittent Fast Living is the kind of album that can only come about from the experience of touring. Drawing from real experiences and feelings, Pet Needs managed to outdo themselves in terms of production quality and lyricism, while exhibiting a sense of comfort within their genre. Intermittent Fast Living performs well as a third outing for the band, sonically mimicking the rollercoaster of a music scene they exist within.

Recommended listening: ‘The Optimist’, ‘Lucid’, ‘Burning Building’



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.