St. Louis Trio The Centaurettes Go Pastel Punk on New EP ‘Cute to be Mean’
LOUIS, MO – When St. Louis indie punk band TheCentaurettesdecided to make their second EP, “Cute to be Mean” – a project they consider to be more professionally produced than their DIY debut “Please Give Me Space” – they were surprised to hear how much their musicianship and songwriting had grown. Core members Derek Hibbard and Bionca Maldonado – guitar and bass, respectively – added drummer Daniel L. Jackson to their roster first. All three of them are vocalists for the band and represent a diversity seldom seen in rock music today. Two-thirds of them are Queer and People Of Color. That diversity helps create something truly original on “Cute to be Mean,” which was recorded almost entirely live. While the songs still ooze sass and irreverence, the artists also found some soft moments, causing them to rebrand themselves as “pastel punk.”
In general, there’s a heaviness to the subject matter here. Lyrics confront topics like depression and addiction. Ultimately, Maldonado sees the dominant theme as growth, saying “Growth and adaptation are enormous to everyone right now.” In one standout song, “Spider on the Wall,” vocalist Derek Hibbard explores all aspects of addiction. Yet, the music stays phenomenally groovy, and the song ends with a recording of people laughing.
Hibbard credits Jackson with helping widen the band’s sound, saying, “Danny started out as just a drummer. But in the recording of this he started doing backing vocals, he added keys, he added guitars. He actually has his own song on the record that he plays and sings, ‘Birds and Bees.’ “We’ve kind of got a punk rock Beatles thing going on where you never know who’s going to be singing.”
It was Jackson who suggested re-recording “The Barge,” a song on the band’s first EP, wanting to do his own take on the song. Having done multiple recordings, Maldonado was keen to try one more time and give the song a “final resting place.” The band was shocked when they heard how much better the new version was. “Miles and miles above where it started in 2017,” says Hibbard. “Night and day.” Maldonado adds that it’s a treat for their longtime listeners, saying “It’s a way to share an old song that all of our fans knows and show them how good it is now.” Much as Green Day fans enjoy both an older and newer version of “Welcome to Paradise,” “The Barge” now lives in two iterations. A video is forthcoming.
On “Cute to be Mean,” the St. Louis trio shows their own growth. Not just in their music and songwriting, but in their openness to explore new genres, revisit their past, and make the very best of a change in the band’s lineup. But they’re keeping the sass.
“Cute to be Mean” was recorded by The Centaurettes at Lighthouse Sounds in Alton, IL and produced by Alex St. Cin.
The EP is currently available across all streaming platforms. To listen to their music, or to follow them on social media, please visit the following links:
Album on Spotify:
Apple Music album link: