The Latest From Petite League, 'Rattler,' is One Big Balancing Act

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Petite League is a band born in Syracuse and raised in Brooklyn by a house full of passionate, talented, and diy-or-die boys. They just released Rattler on July 26th, their fourth release to date, and their first release on the newly minted label, Zap World Records. These little league boys have come a long way from their Syracuse days playing art spaces and basement shows. This album finds them at their best, expertly treading the fine line between lo-fi garage rock, indie pop, and pop-punk. They’ve seamlessly tied together a sound that’s angsty and grungy, while catchy and relatable at the same time. Songs like “Sweetener”, “Blood Gardens”, and “Yung Bubblegum” showcase that signature jangly sound we’ve come to know from their previous releases. Others like “New York Girls” and “The Devil’s Rifle Is Named After You” surprise with their pop sensibilities. “Infinite Field” is a sweet acoustic ditty right outta left field. Believe me when I say this album is in a league of its own.  

The guitars are sometimes distorted and jangling, yet also sometimes smooth and crisp. This album has some of Petite League’s cleanest production to date. Every part has its place in the mix and it truly feels like a harmonious collaborative effort between friends. Layers on layers of guitar, vocals, reverb, and distortion round out every song like thick summer air in the room. 

One of my favorite tracks on the album, “Blood Gardens”, is a cheery albeit lyrically moody track about honesty, making mistakes, and feeling both too much and not enough at the same time. It’s one of those sad songs hidden away in a happy sounding song, with bright upbeat guitars and a groovy bassline. “Blood on the grass, well it helps the grass grow.” It’s a unique way of saying “You have to make mistakes to grow from them,” if I’ve ever heard one. Petite League’s resident songwriter, Lorenzo Gillis Cook, has a way with words that gets the message across without throwing it in your face. His imagery on this album is specific and descriptive to a tee, reminiscent of never-ending summers spent in the city-- falling in love, falling out of love, wanting, and hurting. Lines like “Wild horse gonna die in the pasture where the green of the grass don't matter” showcase a candid realism, while others like “I’m an open casket funeral because I’m such a pretty boy” show off his macabre sense of humor. The songs depict a multitude of scenes and the lyrics hit hard, yet somehow all of the scenarios could relate to anyone from an uneasy tween to a middle-aged divorcé. Versatility at its finest, I suppose. 

The band put it best themselves when they said on Facebook: 

“Rattler is a record about self-care and self-destruction. It’s about toeing the line of being an oblivious ego-tripper and a walking introspective panic attack. It’s about falling in love with someone so terrifying it's exciting and leaving it because life is all too exciting and terrifying. It’s about the skittish hum of New York City and the piercing silence in the middle of nowhere. It’s about growing up and being happy and it’s about growing up and learning what that really means.

And, to sum it all up, in a year where everyone wrote their cowboy album, it’s just about being the rattlesnake.”

Rattler is out now via Zap World Records and available on all streaming sources. Vinyl pre-sales are available here. Keep an eye out for what’s next for Petite League! 

-Reina Shinohara

Delaney Motter