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Music Review: Patient 0, “Girl Problems”

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Photo Credit: arty_k/Adobe Stock

Patient 0, the punk band fronted by Tess Majors, traces its origins to 2014, when Majors and best friend Hannah Fowler started jamming.

Their first single, “Short Term Fixes,” was released in March 2018, with the first full-length album, “Girl Problems,” recorded at the Music Resource Center in Charlottesville, released this past September, with James Gunter on drums and Lucas Brown, from the local band Breakers, mixing and mastering the tracks.

Patient 0 online:

OK, homework out of the way.

The group cites as its influences, in general, old punk, and then more specifically, bands including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, The Cure and The Strokes.

I was so glad to come across that little tidbit about their influences.

I’ve immersed myself into the music from both the single release “Short Term Fixes” and the “Girl Problems” album, and after seeing who they say they were influenced by, I’m not feeling nearly as old as I did when I was listening to it before having done my homework.

Because the notes I made before studying up on Patient 0 had me thinking …

Green Day, definitely.

I also hear some Ramones, which makes sense after learning that Tess and Hannah are fans of old punk.

And then I hear in them: Garbage, Veruca Salt, Courtney Love/Hole.

Before you OK Boomer me into oblivion, remember, I’m not a music reviewer, at least not one worth anything.

My musical tastes lost all appreciation of new flavors circa 1995.

I was asked yesterday by more than one newspaper writer to try to put a tag on Patient O’s music, and God as my witness, I threw out terms including “grunge,” “Americana” (seriously, that word came out of my mouth).

“Punk” didn’t occur to me, for whatever reason, but I can feel it now, the energy, anyway.

The depth to the lyrics – my favorites are “4 Chord Song” and “Paper Cut” – don’t speak punk to me.

For example, from “4 Chord Song”:

Just leave me alone while I sort myself out
And try to regain my piece of mind
Because I am stuck here battling my doubts
That you could ever have been so unkind
Don’t tell me no lies
It’s time to say goodbye
But you unfold before my eyes
So I’ll just sit and watch you .. cry
Don’t expect my sympathy
After what you’ve done to me
I thought we could be friends
But you made our love into a game that I could never win

That’s some serious angst there. And not teen angst.

Like, mid-20s angst, maybe late 20s angst.

Yeah, I know. OK, Boomer.

I deserve that.

Paper Cut,” I like, because, strong lyrics, but mainly because it has such a distinct sound, dominated by Majors on bass guitar.

I try to lift the fog
I try to clear the air
Your brain is camouflage
You’ll never say you’re scared
You were a paper cut
You turned me inside out
Then hung me out to dry
But we were both in doubt

This is where I need to remind my readers that Tess was my intern at Augusta Free Press for two months this spring, and when she was working with us, she’d talk about her music career, and I did the equivalent of patting her on the head and saying, that’s nice, but what are you going to do to pay the rent?

But, see, I hadn’t yet listened to “Girl Problems.”

Now, I have, and now, I get it.

Why she went to New York.

Why journalism, everything else, really, was the backup plan.

Patient 0 played its first NYC gig in October.

I say first; more were no doubt to come.

It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to happen, and the trials and tribulations of getting there would only sharpen the sound, add even more depth to the lyrics.

If you’re good, you go to New York.

Like Sinatra said, if you can make it there, you can make it … anywhere.

They would have made it there.

It was going to happen.

They’re that good.

Listen. Please, listen.

But before you do, let me close with the thought that I have a new favorite from Patient Zero.

This is from “Prom Queen”:

Remember the night she rose from the sea
Stood with arms open wide as she walked right past me
I tried not to mind as she went by
The freckles on her face, the stars in the sky
I’m stuck in my head because I’ve fallen so hard
I know that she’s still up with the stars

It’s not fair that we don’t get a lifetime more of this.

Review by Chris Graham

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