I guess Pity Party is the kind of punk-pop normal teenagers would play to make their parents angry. After all, their sarcastic lyrics are filled with sex and booze. Not in the usual masculine way, fortunately, but still, “Don’t you wanna do me? / I would wanna do me!” could hardly be called ‘appropriate’ (bonus points to Fightmilk!). But when I play the EP this afternoon, my mum lets out a genuine laugh. She understands it’s funny, a kind of irony hipsters have never understood. She, like me, delights in Lily Rae’s low-pitched talking-singing, at moments theatrically over-the-top. “I have all those issues / So tell me I’m sexy” – punk in the style of Nina Hagen. Writing this I realise it sounds like I’m praising my mother here, which is never a bad thing to do, but the object of flatter here is Fightmilk.
The themes of Pity Party are recognisable, sometimes painfully. I, too, am sleeping on the bed-sofa of my parent’s living room this summer (“In between jobs and in between houses / I’m not unlucky just eternally grounded”), though as an Oxford student I shouldn’t complain. Both thematically and musically, Fightmilk are close kins to Durham’s Martha, who also detail the precarious lives of millennials through catchy choruses. Fightmilk’s slightly less punk, less shrieky, more drama class, but the ethos is the same. The Pulp of this decade, embodying the DIY ethics of this time. I’m tempted to coin the term ‘Precariat Pop’, after the precariat, today’s proletariat, but I’m afraid that sounds derisive, as if politics is just subject matter for a song. Which it is not, of course.
Pity Party is the successor of Fightmilk’s debut The Curse of Fightmilk, which already showcased Rae’s vocal capacities and the band’s knack for a good melody (though they’re never entirely straightforward, there’s always something to discover). Pity Party is just as good, if not better, in terms of tunes, but also shows a cheeky-theatrical side of Fightmilk that ties in well with their political intentions. Word is they’ve got a proper debut planned for 2018 and once that’s here I’m sure we can easily add Fightmilk to the likes of Martha and The Tuts.
-- Caspar Jacobs, July 19, 2017