Review by Jenny Bunn
Bratakus: Target Grrrl (LP)
Out now on Bandcamp
When I first opened up the Facebook page for Bratakus, I was surprised to find two Scottish sisters staring back at me, rather than the very Germanic image that I had somehow got into my head after hearing the name (wait, maybe I’m thinking of Bratwurst?). I was even more intrigued to see that the duo – Breagha and Onnagh Cuinn on guitar and bass respectively – were exactly that: a duo.
It’s certain to say that Bratakus and their drum machine have found their sound. The band’s debut album – ‘Target Grrrl’, released August 2017 – is classic punk that wouldn’t feel out of place in the 1970s. There’s no bullshit and no faffing around waiting to get to the punch line as the pair deliver fast-paced political messages. Every song on the album sits at under three minutes long, but boy do they manage to squeeze a helluva lot of distortion and power chords into that short period of time. Expect to be met with a load of whoas and split vocals: the girls’ voices play off each other perfectly with a balance of spat out venom and shouty riot grrrl.
The subject matter of the songs ranges from the likes of pollution to feelings of disassociation and disaffection. For me, the album highlights are ‘No More Love Songs’ (described perfectly as a “hate song for love songs”), which is as blunt as it is brief with the repetition of the title throughout, and the slightly steadier penultimate track, ‘Product’. Initially, I didn’t give much thought to the lyrics as I was too busy appreciating the overarching angst of it all, but through the wonders of Bandcamp I got to reading and I’m glad I did: underneath all the shouting there’s a lot more lyrical poetry to the songs than I’d first given them credit for. Following on from checking out their Bandcamp, I ended up on Bratakus’ YouTube channel, where you’ll find brilliant examples of the DIY ethic that is so rife within punk – from their recent tour diary features titles written in fridge magnets to early video recordings that are performed live from a very messy teenage bedroom.
As a final note, they get major bonus points from me for featuring Rik Mayall’s ‘Pollution’ poem from the Young Ones at the beginning of one of their tracks. Nicely done ladies, I’m looking forward to see where the next album takes you.
Find Bratakus on Bandcamp and Facebook