Breakfast Muff prove DIY credentials with Eurgh!

eurghBreakfast Muff emerge fully formed from the Glasgow DIY scene, albeit with Eilidh McMillan of Cardiff's Joanna Gruesome in their midst, with their third album Eurgh! While the sound itself errs probably a little to side of alt rock with punky edges, rather than being a punk record per se, there’s definitely a straightforwardness and simplicity to this album which suggests DIY is thoroughly in their bloodstreams. This is very much of the 'pick up some instruments, make a melody, and sing about the things that you see' spirit.

Eurgh! was apparently recorded over four days (which is twice as much time as it took them to put together album number one The Feels and one day more than number two Rainbow Yawn – give them a few years and we’ll be up to Chinese Democracy-style creation myths) up in the Highlands. The vocals were recorded in a hall, with one of the trio (who switch between roles) right up in the mic and the other two just standing a bit further back. It's as unpretentious a recording method as you can get, and definitely lends the record a certain live immediacy and intimacy.

The girl-boy vocals give it some textural variety, and strike a nice balance between twee (is there a more honeyed accent than Glaswegian in the Anglophone world?) and snarl. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the politically-charged form of toughness packaged as a delicacy that you might associate with the late 90s and early 00s, though with less of an ironic sheen over the lyrics. It’s a different age after all; that irony ended up being a segue into an age of indifference from which we seem to have emerged over this decade.

Their choice of lead singles – “R U A Feminist” and “Baby Boomers”, neither of which requires any further explanation – is a clear declaration of intent. It’s certainly laudable that they’re making politically-charged music, and also that they’re tackling them so directly in Eurgh!'s lyrics. That musicians and society at large are keen to talk about these things openly will be a route to progress, and gives a new lease of life to music that is interested in more than just booty shaking. At the risk of sounding censorious, however, one might argue that it’s a little unsophisticated, and also not saying much that hasn’t already been said. The issues are still very real though, so maybe it’s a question of taste. You might also say that using art to look at things in a novel way is part of what provides its power to open up new perspectives and change thinking.

Anyway, back to noises. The guitars buzz and sparkle rather than bite – there’s even a touch of the more conservative end of mid-80s Sonic Youth in there. It’s nicely melodic while being rough around the edges, in that way that Glaswegian indie bands are so good at. There seems to be less of the shoegaze haze over this record than is evident on their first two records; less too of the more conventional punk tracks, although album opener “Lunch Money” and potential highlight “Duvet” are still in that vein. Perhaps this is another element in the stripping away of any sort of studio-level artifice. Again, perhaps it’s a question of taste, but this does leave it feeling a little workmanlike and lacking in some of the shimmering, fuzzy magic of the first two records.

And that’s maybe the biggest criticism you could level at Eurgh! Despite the latent power one can sense underneath, it’s a little bit pedestrian. It’s not quite stylish enough for the level of sparseness, and slightly too aloof to punch you in the organs. Maybe it’s the case that as with many DIY bands – particularly ones so faithful to a low-frills, live approach – that something is lost in the recording process.

Well if that’s the case, at least it sends a decent message. Get off the internet, put on some outside clothes, and get your arse down your local venue to see some unsigned or mini-label bands. It’s your duty, music fan.

Release: 7th July 2017, Amour Foo Records


One Response to “Breakfast Muff prove DIY credentials with Eurgh!”


    1. Breakfast Muff prove DIY credentials with Eurgh! – Live List - 03/07/2017

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