Brat Farrar III - Brat Farrar (Off The Hip)
It’s his third minimally-titled, full-length offering and Brat Farrar has toned down the electro sounds and gone straight for the throat with guitars at warp speed. It’s more raw, edgy and melodic punk-cum-stoner rock with a true DIY spirit shining through.
Brat (aka Sam Agostino) was half of Digger and The Pussycats and a third of Kamakaze Trio. He might bill himself as a bedroom musician but he’s still to be seen performing in his home city of Melbourne and in Europe, where Digger and The Pussycats had carved out a fan-base. Farrar is nothing if not prolific, churning out a dozen releases in varying formats, and plays everything on his records.
So I’m in the Bar and the CD rotel thing played this one back-to-back with an early Lemonheads record (I think it was “Creator”.) The striking thing was how much tougher and together “Brat Farrar III” sounded in comparison. Brat cites The Wipers as an influence (most evident on the surging “When I Wake”), Suicide and Chrome but I’m throwing in Jay Reatard as another.
The secret to Brat Farrar’s appeal is in the simplicity of the songs. They’re densely-recorded with an economy of chords, just a couple of guitar tracks over tight rhythm beds. Minimally arranged for maximum impact. No better expressed than in the express train, “Make You Mine”, and the rueful “Last Summer”.
Try as you might, you won’t find a better song among these 10 than the grim “Sugar Coloured Dream”. Intense, driven by a merciless beat and new wave keys, it’s interspersed with fractured guitar and Brat’s urgent vocal. A gem.
Of course, brevity is a Brat Farrar by-word. The album's done in a rapid eye movement, by which time you can go back to the start to listen again.
The CD version is out on Off The Hip Records and vinyl is on Kizmiaz Records. The back catalogue is procurable at a price you can name at Bandcamp. Now that's punk!