PWR BTTM: Pageant review – explosive, emotional glam rock


Glam was as much a sartorial movement as a musical one – with glitter, platforms and androgynous fashion forming an exciting and, to some, frightening new visual language. Dressed in blouses and smeared, sparkly makeup, PWR BTTM certainly seem to hark back to the era with their aesthetic, as well as their brand of intermittently explosive rock. But the New York duo deviate from the glam template in tone – instead of arch, attention-grabbing camp, their flamboyance is simply a symptom of their earnest self-expression. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins – who alternate between drums and guitar/vocals – are both queer and use they/them/their pronouns.

During this debut they sweetly and pithily recount painful experiences related to this: Styrofoam articulates body dysmorphia, New Trick bemoans strangers who stare, and LOL rues a certain strain of vulnerability. But like all successful pop music, PWR BTTM can convert their highly specific sentiments into something universal – most notably in Answer My Text, which amusingly rages against the curse of the blank phone screen.


Rachel Aroesti

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Miles Kane: Coup de Grace review – tepid glam pop breakup tunes
The man who backs up Alex Turner in the Last Shadow Puppets puts out his third solo effort of functional psych and pop tunes

Jazz Monroe

10, Aug, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
Børns: Blue Madonna review – glam pop with all the latest add-ons

Rachel Aroesti

11, Jan, 2018 @10:00 PM

Band of Horses: Mirage Rock – review
Band of Horses up their game and sharpen their edges yet further with this focused and determined album, writes Michael Hann

Michael Hann

13, Sep, 2012 @8:58 PM

Article image
Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder review – invigorating emotional anthems

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

07, Jul, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Yellow Days review – emotional blood-letting from an artist to watch
George van den Broek rasps, writhes and sweats as he delivers songs of harrowing romance and anxiety to a full house

Caroline Sullivan

09, May, 2018 @1:58 PM

Article image
Anastacia: Evolution review – melodic, warm pop-rock alternative

Rachel Aroesti

14, Sep, 2017 @8:45 PM

Article image
Imagine Dragons: Evolve review – lifeless electronic-tinged arena rock

Hannah J Davies

22, Jun, 2017 @9:30 PM

Article image
Larkin Poe: Reskinned review – swaggering bad-girl bluesy rock

Dave Simpson

14, Jul, 2016 @9:45 PM

Article image
Moonlight Benjamin: Siltane review – no-nonsense Haitian blues-rock
Brooding, bluesy gold from the France-based voodoo priestess and singer-songwriter

Robin Denselow

30, Nov, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
Tom Williams: All Change review – surging, vintage pop-rock

Kate Hutchinson

25, May, 2017 @9:30 PM