BRAT FARRAR - Brat Farrar (Off the Hip)
Look, it's a punk rock record with some funny little new wave songs thrown in. You were expecting prog rock? It's also a bedroom album by Dean Agostino, one-half of Digger and The Pussycats, so that should tell you right there that it's pretty fucking good, OK? DIY rules!

Jay Retard was the first comparator that sprang to mind so it was vindication to see him name-dropped in the bio. They absolutely worshipped the late Jay in Melbourne (Brat's home town) and opening gambit "Punk Records" manages to summon up his memory without coming off as a rip-off. It's a rockin' roll call of four decades of (mostly) righteous icons and misfits, like the Gurus' "Let's All Turn On." Charge your glass and make a toast.

It's a mixed grill that's all the more satisfying for the variety. The 1min16sec industrial grind of "Party At Hawks" sounds like "Mass Production" from "The Idiot" but most of the songs have pop hooks embedded deep in their skin. Brat's great soil is to deliver them with enough edgy intent ("MIne All The Time") that they don't get old fast.

You'd cross the road for tunes like "Ask The Night Tonight" and the harmony-in -our-head rush of "Advice" but it's the new wave cheesiness of the keyboards-flavoured "Leo Cried" could have been a hit in 1985. "So Overwhelming" marries crunch with keys with a brutal touch that's no less effective.

"You've Got Me Hanging Around" is the hit pick. Brat writes a decent tune and this one benefits from a great melody line and crunchy guitars.

Brat played every instrument (and programmed the drums) before recruiting a band to play out live. It must suck to have so many great musical ideas - and to be able to translate them to a record convincingly - but you're the real winner. You should be able to procure a CD copy from the label or head to Bandcamp for other formats.- The Barman


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