After a series of hit singles, Vancouver punk-band Bratboy released their debut album Bratworld on April 21. Heralded as this generation’s Runaways, the band consists of lead guitarist Bella Bébé, bassist Megan-Magdalena, and drummer Tony Dallas. Their music has an intoxicating revelry that any new or old punk fan will appreciate forever.
Upon initial listen, the band engulfs you with their first track “Cuff Love” that has an easygoing start. The drums sneak into the song, Bébé’s vocals become fiercer, a screeching guitar skyrockets, and hard bass chords arrive. The rest of the album hits you just as fast with unpredictable soundscapes.
Bratboy’s true talent is their ability to balance and weave through the different moods of their songs. The band descends into chaotic guitar licks, rough bass beats, and meaner drum hits and cymbal crashes that overpower their recordings. They also know how to be vulnerable when Bébé’s and Magdalena’s ghostly vocals shine over restrained drums and guitar strums.
With smothering versatility, the album would be perfect for any steampunk fantasy video game. Tracks like “Moloko” and the band’s namesake Bratboy would convey thrilling depravity for action scenes through angry vocals, maddening guitar solos, and intimidating drums. These songs are all you need for a supercharged adventure of mechanized mayhem.
Aside from steampunk aesthetics, love is also a popular theme featured in the album, granted romance motifs are nothing new. Bratboy isn’t necessarily doing anything groundbreaking in this subject when it comes to their music, and they never planned to in the first place.
Exclaim! said the band is “shredding love stories and baring teeth over their scuzzy three-piece arrangements.” Rather than overcomplicated or grandiose metaphors, they embrace the heartbreak trend their own way. They tell more simple stories about the belonging felt by and hardships of romance while keeping their enthusiasm close to their hearts.
“Blue Eyes” is straightforward in tackling romantic hurt through the lyrics “Thought you loved me, all along” and “Thought you were the only one.” Yet, the chorus has untamed guitar and drum set combos after these lyrics. Bébé and Magdalena wail “Yeah!!!” and Dallas even screams out “Sick, sick, sick,” by the end. He congratulates his bandmates on a job well done.
The “Blue Eyes” track is just one example of the band’s refusal to stay down and, instead, mess around with their themes. It makes all the difference for otherwise typical rock songs about heartbreak. Bébé, Magdalena, and Dallas are rebelling against their lovestruck universe.
Vancouver’s Bratboy makes their city proud with their debut album Bratworld. The band forges their music in classic punk fashion, and I for one am looking forward to their future work. Their head-bobbing tunes are a nice introduction to new punk fans and will immediately catch old punk fans off guard.
Final Score: 9/10
Favourite Tracks: “Blue Eyes,” “Moloko,” “Victoria,” “Bratboy.”