Music Reviews
Breakfast for Pathetics

Tired Lion Breakfast for Pathetics

(Dew Process/Universal Music Australia) Rating - 5/10

The chorus of Lie to Me feels like getting shot by a bullet. As guitars rage and drums thrash, Tired Lion leader Sophie Hodges snarls at the audience: “Lie to me, tell me I’m pretty, tell me I’m skinny, tell me I’m wining, fuck,” and on that final word, you’ll find the year’s best snare drum hit. Within the two-minute length of the song, you feel the full brunt of Hodges’ force. “I’m supposed to be petite, subservient, and weak,” she sings during the verse with assurance and sarcastic apathy. It’s like watching a magic act get pulled off in front of your eyes. It’s thrilling, and she doesn't even get close to pulling it off again on this album.

Breakfast for Pathetics is the second Tired Lion record, this time without a full band backing Hodges, and it’s fine. She’s got a good ear for choruses and agreeable 90s alt-rock instrumentation, but for the most part, these aren’t particularly exciting songs. On the leaden Waterbed, she sings with an appealing but disaffected demeanor. While the detailed lyrics (“Something explodes, the waterbed broke” is how the song starts") do some heavy lifting, it’s an average song on an average album.

Hodges’ songwriting is most exciting when she genuinely sounds pissed. Lie to Me is a special moment on the album, but there’s other songs that capture some of that appeal. On Don’t Take Me Back, she jumps back and forth on how she feels about a partner, before claiming that she’ll stay useless and they’ll get boring. Her wailing vocals are what sell the chorus, and they keep it exciting for most of the run length. Hints of piano and percussion underline the quiet but angry acoustic ballad Screw You, in which Hodges sings “If it doesn’t feel right, or if it’s going to hurt” with genuinne sincerity. It’s a moving performance on a slodgy, skippable record from a once-promising artist.