If Breakfast Muff‘s softer side raises some doubts about whether they actually stay true to their punk roots, here are a few things to help you make up your mind: In true DIY spirit, they recorded their new album in four days (while ‘The Feels’ was recorded in two and follow-up ‘Rainbow Yawn’ in three), constantly swapping instruments and vocal duties; no song is longer than two-and-a-half minutes; half of the high-pitched howls are unintelligible, and the same can be said about the band’s name. And that’s without mentioning their electric energy and immediacy. Besides, is there any other combination of letters that encapsulates the punk aesthetic towards society better than ‘Eurgh!, the title of their latest album?
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Consisting of members from Rapid Tan, Spinning Coin, Joanna Gruesome, and Hairband, and having toured with bands like Colleen Green, Diet Cig, and Anxiety, the trio is one of the latest groups to emerge from Glasgow’s fruitful music scene. Like fellow Glaswegians Honeyblood, who delivered a powerful and feminist indie rock/pop album last October, Breakfast Muff are also influenced by the riot grrrl movement, though more directly. On their most confident record to date, the band delivers a fiery collection of indie-flavoured punk songs about feminism, sexuality, and societal expectations in the modern world. More than a few tracks are politically charged: on the chaotically explosive lead single ‘R U A Feminist’, the band tackles present-day feminist issues about the subtle ways in which hypocrisy is manifested that few artists have portrayed with such urgency. “You’re a feminist until I won’t fuck you,” Eilidh McMillan sings coolly as the song starts, and when the chorus bursts, she screeches with admirable certainty and determination: “You’re not a fucking feminist if you don’t act with kindness/If you treat women with violence you’re not a fucking feminist.” It’s filled with the aggressiveness of a punk anthem and, simultaneously, the catchiness of a pop hit. It’s the same combination that characterizes the other single, ‘Babyboomers’, where the cultural issue addressed is how previous generations unfairly judge younger ones (“Sorry we’re fucked up/ But you made us this way”). On the track ‘I Like To’, the simplicity and repetition of the lyrics highlight their potency and turn it into a hilariously uncomplicated song about being open to different expressions of sexuality – when the lyrical motif cleverly reappears on ‘Duvet’ (“I like duvet, and that’s okay”), the message (that putting labels is meaningless) becomes even more effective. In fact, there’s a lot of humour packed into the commentary and straightforwardness of these songs.
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Not all of the songs are as forceful or have political undertones the way these songs or the ferocious ‘Feast’ do, which adds some variety to the mix. Breakfast Muff have said that they were listening to artists like Frankie Cosmos, Girlpool, and Kimya Dawson when they when they recorded the album, and this kind of indie sensibility comes across on the album. This change in style is often accompanied with more personal lyrics, and the songs are more heartfelt, like the escapist ‘Magic Carpet’. On the dreamy chorus of ‘Clam’, McMillan sings “come out of your shell” to the person who “hides at the bottom of the ocean”, while on ‘Birthday Party’ she exclaims “I want to wear your skin”. On the lovely closer ‘Waving Cat’, which has a warm and memorable melody, they are at their most vulnerable and quiet – Cal Donnelly’s backing vocals make the song even more dynamic, as the lead singer urges us to embrace that things won’t always be perfect. The album isn’t perfect either, and it inevitably feels incoherent at times, though repeated listens reveal both musical and lyrical themes that make the album flow quite well. But Breakfast Muff is in the right direction – in blending indie and punk, they are one of those bands that aren’t afraid to modernize the genre and push it forward.
Breakfast Muff ‘Eurgh!’ is out now via Amour Foo. The full track-listing is…
1. Lunch Money
2. Arms Brains
3. R U A Feminist
4. Birthday Party
6. Magic Carpet
7. Baby Boomers
8. I Like To
11. Raspberry Pavlova
12. Stinky Goodbyes