Brutus’ Daughters: When The Pubs Are Dying

April 26, 2010

The Madrid-based Brutus’ Daughters have the distinction of being one of the very few female-led folk-punk bands in this genre. Lead singer “Paula” has a voice that one could best describe as an angry, bratty sound, very much befitting the punk attitude conveyed here and surprisingly in-tune with the cry of the band’s Asturian pipes, or “gaita.”

Said gaita makes up half of the “folk element” of the Daughters, sharing this title with the fiddle, although “sharing” doesn’t seem like the most appropriate term. The two instruments seem to battle for the lead role as frequently as they do share it. Having two dueling lead lines going at the same time is not unusual on “When the Pubs Are Dying,” (the band’s most recent release.) The two instruments do, however, compliment each other during their little battles, creating a sort of “chaotic harmony,” that is all at once unsettling, unusual, and really interesting.

The 8-track release, “When the Pubs Are Dying,” finds the lyrics crisply snapped out in English and Spanish, (and apparently, Asturian, although, I admit I read this little fact onBrutus’ Daughters’ MySpace page. I lack the familiarity with either language to differentiate them when sung at me!) Along with the pipes and fiddle, the band consists of drums, rhythm guitar, lead guitar and bass. Also in the mix sees the fiddler doing some double duty on the tin whistle and low whistle.

The general atmosphere of Brutus’ Daughters’ When The Pubs Are Dying is one of an abrupt, raucous stomp of a punk rock attack, not remotely softened by its accompanying folk elements. The bands’ inclusion of the Asturian Gaita, and the assortment of languages the songs are delivered in, (not to mention the chorus of ladies’ voices,) not only create Brutus’ Daughters signature sound , but contribute to a genuinely exotic atmosphere as well.

Foreign-sounding; yes, (at least to my ears,) but also, as enjoyable as it is intriguing.

Review by Christopher P. Toler, THE Blathering Gommel

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