With Cover art by Claire -Grimes- Boucher “[who] wants [him] to make sure to tell [us] that her original drawing is much better than it appears to be on the cover because [he] drew over a photo of it and made it look squiggly”, James Brooks presents his Stop Pretending EP [listen below] under his most recent iteration as Default Genders [as of a week ago formerly known as Dead Girlfriends].
On opening track Words With Friends, the first sound we are met with has Enya written all over it IN INVISIBLE INK and 15 seconds in it’s all Ibiza sunset vibe, offset by some heavy words [with friends] and further offset by the featherlight drum’n’bass-y chorus.
Omertà -the name of the second track- refers to a “code of silence and non-cooperation with authorities”…a very punk idea at heart yet quite poetically expressed through the instrumental’s lack of lyrics. The contemplative piano and drawn-out woodwindy tones create a space of silence amongst an otherwise wordy EP.
The title track Stop Pretending has a pop-punk anthem quality to it, although rides the line between an interesting stringy manga child adventure time and a Blink 182 album closer.
His fourth and final track On Fraternity uses Four Tet-esque Gamalan-y plucks and reverse cymbal revs to underscore Brooks’ sing-talky voice’s further exploration of the concept of ‘omertà’:
“who cares if it’s right as long as it’s punk?
so if someone gets hurt and then the cops come then
DG’s ‘Stop Pretending’ EP is an important exploration of how aggressive punk ideals fit with an anti-misogynistic temperament, as Default Genders tussles with the male-centric etymology of the word [from the Spanish “hombredad” or “manliness”]. The soft sensitive sounds he uses in tracks 1, 2 and 4 combined with the concentrated personable lyrics come across as a sort of POTPOURRI PUNK, which constructs his very own arena of musical dialogue around the conflicting duality of ideals.