The Los Angeles trio Upset has a rather flawless pedigree. Joining lead guitarist/vocalist Jennifer Prince is drummer Patty Schemel, who cut her teeth with Hole during the ’90s, and frontwoman Ali Koehler, who’s best known as the drummer for Vivian Girls and formerly Best Coast. On their fantastic debut full-length, She’s Gone, Upset bash through short, sharp songs — only two crack the three-minute mark — heavily influenced by fuzzy’90s indie rock.
But while She’s Gone is musically consistent, it’s far from one-dimensional. Schemel’s precise, ferocious drumming anchors raucous punk jams such as “You And I” and “Never Wanna,” while sugary-sweet harmonies dominate “Game Over” and the girl-group homage “Let It Go.” Koehler is effective at capturing the record’s many moods; she can be pleading (the rickety power-pop of the title track), taunting (“About Me”) or bratty (the grungy ode to poisonous friendship “Queen Frosteen”).
She’s Gone‘s lyrics have surprising depth despite the brevity, ranging from flirtatious to bereft. The protagonist of “Oxfords and Wingtips” remains distressed by the memories of an unhealthy love affair (“And every drink makes me think of that day/ I gave you pills ’til you faded away”), while the main character in “Phone Calls” is crippled by a devastating breakup: “Last night I talked a big game, I swore I’d say it to your face/ But I just can’t face you ’til I replace you.” Fans of extinct groups such as that dog., the Ergs! and the Reputation will find much to love on She’s Gone, while anyone currently obsessing over Swearin’ might have just found another favorite band.