Alongside Berrin, Pom Pom Squad features bassist Mari Alé Figeman, drummer Shelby Keller, and guitarist Ethan Sass. Hailing from a variety of different backgrounds -- whether Keller’s jazz training or Berrin’s classic hip-hop and new wave upbringing -- the group manages to be serious without taking themselves too seriously. It’s that balance of solemnity and whimsy that allows punk and tenderness to live side by side: chunky, distorted guitar on some tracks, and near-whisper on others; brash yells or tame, wry wit.
Berrin’s music reveals internal discord -- she’s intent to cast off the “nice girl” narrative, and that means turning herself inside out to show that the inside isn’t so put-together after all.
Also integral to Berrin’s self-excoration is her existence as a queer woman of color, two identities that come with their own preconceived notions. With lyrics centering on mental health, abuse, trauma, and healing, Pom Pom Squad pursues radical self-acceptance through periodic self-exposure and self-undressing.