REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Pega Monstro Pay Homage To Girl Power With 'Alfarroba'

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Portuguese sisters Júlia and Maria Reis have a bunch of experience under their belts. They started playing together when they were teens, formed a record label to document their local garage punk scene in 2010 and are now releasing ‘Alfarroba’, their second album as Pega Monstro.

Pega Monstro album artwork for Subba-Cultcha

In the midst of a new record and a string of shows (including a support slot for Ariel Pink) the duo have stirred up the approval of Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, who expressed his appreciation for their new album via a series of kind words as part of his takeover of Texas-based music blog Gorilla vs. Bear. We’re definitely fans of it too.

The record lives up to its “dream-punk” description, fusing stripped-down yet noisy instrumentation with endearing, echoey vocals. While the drums, distorted guitar and overall lo-fi production are reminiscent of bands of the Riot Grrrl movement, the vocals (sung by both Júlia and Maria, in Portuguese) are melodious and more gentle, drawing comparison to 60s girl groups; Pega Monstro’s balance between both styles thus pays homage to the greatness that is girl power throughout time.

"Braço de Ferro" opens the album - an infectious punk track that had been shared on the band’s SoundCloud earlier this year. The song is full of energy, with Maria’s guitar and Júlia’s drums providing a cyclical rhythm that is sure to make the listener want to pick up an instrument and prance around, with head banging in full swing.

The vitality is sustained across the album with track 5, "Fiz Esta Canção", in particular standing out for its speed and tight composition. The song is comparable to something you may find in the Vivian Girls archives, sharing the dreamy vocals, simple riffs and typically short length (the track doesn’t exceed 3 minutes).

The tracklist doesn’t just consist of loud and upbeat punk-style songs though. On several occasions, the raucousness is halted while the two-piece dip into other, more gentle styles. Take track 4, "És Tudo O Que Eu Queria", for example. The song is slow and calm with a melancholy feel to it, thus serving as a short and sweet break between the heaviness of the tracks that surround it. The track is a mere 2 minutes long and then plunges into something much faster. Track 7, "És Tu, Já Sei", and track 9, "Fado D'Água Fria" continue this style and are probably the nicest songs of the album. "Fado D'Água Fria", the penultimate track, is stripped back entirely, consisting of just acoustic guitar, soothing layered vocals and a lot of reverb.

Are Pega Monstro the coolest girls around right now? Probably. You can catch them on their UK tour dates throughout August.

To find out more about Pega Monstro, click here.

Words by Saf Bugel.