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.
Biased? No, I'm not biased. Why do you ask? See, Adelaide's Fear and Loathing (aka FAL) is the band everyone should see, experience or endure, at least four times in their lives.
First gig: At the sight of a bunch of late 40-somethings making what they sometimes call music and what everyone else calls punishment, you will feel an uncontrollable urge to get extremely drunk. You will not remember getting home.
Second gig: Still hungover from last time, you turn up because you've realised that you didn't quite take it all in, and they've got this hypnotic scrunch about them. By now you're tapping your toe, occasionally jiggling along gingerly. You find yourself buying the band numerous jugs of pale ale. You find yourself driving home at midday, fairly certain you're going in the right direction.
Blondie and her session men plus Clem Burke (obscured). Dean Ertl photo
I come at this review as a fan. Since 1976 (earlier if you count the Dolls and the Velvets), I have been enamoured of that New York New Wave sound. It's a broad church. Suicide could thrash synthesizers and Television could probe the stratosphere with spiralling lead guitar lines. The Ramones could make dumb look smart.
The Talking Heads sounded nothing like the Heartbreakers. The Fast sounded nothing link Mink DeVille. But the scene was still recognisable as a whole.
Blondie lived in the spotlight of eternal summer despite spending a lifetime dodging sun rays. You could be walking through the Lower East Side, see a boy you liked and say hello. Even if you found yourself charged with solicitation, everything would be all right because you are young, beautiful and in love.