If you thought grunge died with Kurt Cobain in Seattle back in 1994 then how very wrong you were. The concept is very much alive and kicking, particularly up in Liverpool where scouse trio Pet Virus are at the centre of the ‘scrunge’ revolution with their “fuzzy bang boom” sound – alongside their pals in Salt The Snail and Crapsons, both of which we covered on the site back in April.
Pet Virus first emerged when the trio of Phil (guitars and vocals), Glen (bass) and Ryan (drums) began jamming together in January upon the break-up of their former band Enamel Animal – try saying that a few times after a couple of beers. They began writing songs that were sharper and punchier, and aligned with the general growth of grungey music that’s emerging around Merseyside.
As Phil explains: “Locally there’s a real grungey scene happening in Merseyside, covering the whole spectrum. You’ve got Forever In Debt who are mind blowing live, Wife, Spilt, Dead Rebel, there are loads of post-punk/grunge bands around and they all cover the spectrum. Other bands like Salt The Snail, Dead Houses, Mr Ted, they are all throwing out brilliant songs that are amazing live. I think there is defo a thriving scene and it’s down to brilliant promoters like Yeah Buddy DIY that it is all going off!”
The band are set to release their debut single Can I Speak To Dirt? next Friday (12 October), and it’s a great first taste of the scrunge sound. It opens up with a fuzzy guitar riff that launches into a smash of fuzzy chords, before a random verse of “Despots on the screen again demonstrate legerdemain, Demons existentially deranged, Picture it in black and white, Picture it without the light, Polarised opinions petrify.”
A cool guitar lick kicks in over heavy bass then drops into a second verse, then drops into palm-muted chords supporting “And the fabric wipes our lonely brains, And the fabric wipes away the stains, Then the fabric fades, then the fabric fades away.” The vocals suddenly explode into a huge chorus of “I have seen rebellion sterilised, I can feel them gouging out my eyes, Monsters holding on to you, Whatever will we do now, We are all buried alive.” A winding high-pitched guitar solo kicks in and gives way to a repeat of the massive shout-along chorus, before the track comes to a close with a repeat of the guitar lick then a final smash of guitar chords.
It’s edgy and raw, with infectious, hooky guitars and fun, engaging vocals, the type of track that wouldn’t go amiss from Nirvana’s Bleach album. It’s safe to say we’re excited to hear from the trio.
On the track, Phil told us: “We can’t wait for the single to be out! This was one of the first (tracks) we wrote for Pet Virus, so we thought it apt to get it out there as a debut. It’s a bit of a stomper, a declaration of intent I suppose, lyrically it is a sort of commentary of where we’re at socially and politically at the moment. It’s a bit doomy and gloomy, but we feel there is a certain freedom in reaching rock bottom.”
The Pet Virus sound has been honed by influences like Nirvana – obviously – as well as At The Drive-In and The Pixies, plus Phil’s strong Manic Street Preachers influence, plus a weird and eclectic mix of bands like McLusky, Television, Tad, Kyuss and Ministry.
As Phil tells us: “I’d say we have a 90s feel to us, we all grew up in the 90s so this is unavoidable I suppose! We’re fuzzy, melodious and I’d like to think thought-provoking, whilst being aggressive and angry about how shit things can be. As Rage Against The Machine said, anger is a gift!”
The Pet Virus sound is really exciting and the subjects they cover in their music are equally intriguing. As Phil explains: “Existence in general I suppose! Dirt? is a real angry-at-the-world song, but we have written about our own experiences with depression, which we really think is something that we should talk openly about, as well as social issues, like gender equality and LGBT rights. We want to express our own moral compass in song form and find kindred spirits so we can do our bit to help conquer these things for good. Oh, and Glen wants everyone to have better quality WiFi.”
The band have already begun work on their second single ahead of working on an EP for early next year, and have a few gigs coming up around the local Merseyside region, including their single release launch party at Drop The Dumbulls in Liverpool. More info on their upcoming gigs is here.
However, if you’ve stumbled across this article in the search of veterinary assistance, then you’re in the wrong place. As Phil tells us: “We are not vets but if you want we can walk your dog and stroke your cat. I nearly said a different word for cat there but I resisted being crude. Look, I’m all grown up!”