Los Angeles-based indie-rock outfit Petty Human Emotions recently dropped their self-titled debut album, exploring communal emotions that often go unshared.

Guitarist/vocalist and project founder James Nardiello shares, “This is a collection of songs that share a tone and a feeling more than anything else. The feeling at the forefront of this project is simple melancholy, longing, and loneliness.”

Petty Human Emotions began as a solo project but rapidly burgeoned into something more. Produced by Nardiello and Max Dickenson, who played drums, bass, and lead guitar, the album was recorded at the end of 2022.

Once the album was completed, Nardiello realized it would necessitate a full band for live performances, so he recruited Bruce Elmer (drums), Austin King (lead guitar), Ayden Bongiovi (bass), and Ian Phillips (keyboards).

With its raw, lo-fi, grainy feel, the album shuns the accustomed over-production so common in today’s music.

Comprising 11 tracks, Petty Human Emotions opens with the stripped-down “Something New,” reminiscent of Kurt Cobain, with its smouldering, plaintive coloration, giving the tune stark melancholic aromas.

Petty Human Emotions
Petty Human Emotions

Entry points include “Sorry,” with hints of prog-rock running through its melody, which, although complexly layered, comes across as unadorned and austere because of the simple thwack of the snare and deep, rumbling bassline. The shift of the sparkling piano accents to subterranean tones injects the tune with pathos as Nardiello’s mournful vocals imbue the lyrics with aching timbres.

Even though “Moonbird,” an instrumental, travels on translucent piano hues, there’s a dark, sad sensation to the song. A personal favourite, “The Time It Takes,” rolls out on grungy guitars astride a driving rhythm, allowing Nardiello to reveal the merit of his voice with its punk-slacker moodiness.

The intro to “All That I Can Be” recalls Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” and then flows into sacred-like vocals prior to assuming quiet tendrils of prog-rock. The outro elevates to a shimmering wall of sound, delivering a hypnotic climax.

Profoundly sombre and beautiful, the final track, “I’m Still Here,” conveys the pain of acute loneliness and then, after a darkly glittering bridge, mousses up to heavy washes of guitars delivering an overwhelming aura of solitude.

Every element of Petty Human Emotions radiates vapours of elegiac sentiment, giving the album an engrossing sorrow.

Petty Human Emotions Track Listing:

1. Something New
2. I Want
3. Madison Ave.
4. Mae
5. Sorry
6. Moonbird
7. The Time It Takes
8. Goodbye
9. Untitled
10. All That I Can Be
11. I’m Still Here

Run Time: 40:24
Release Date: May 19, 2023
Record Label: Independent