wears the trousers magazine

the brownies: ourknife yourback (2009)
June 22, 2009, 3:23 pm
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,


The Brownies
Ourknife Yourback •••½

Rumour has it, it’s pretty tough to get out of Norfolk, but Norwich punk-pop five-piece The Brownies are making a roaring attempt to do so with their debut album, Ourknife Yourback. Not the chocolate kind, these Brownies are a potent mixture of one bad curry (having named themselves after its digestive consequences), a generous glug of cheap vodka and litres of hard work, sex, and adolescent arrogance, topped off with a dash of conviction. These raw ingredients have been blended feverishly with frenetic, electric strings, tenderised with unremittingly pounding drums, and finally battered with grating guitar and bass. Lashing out from the speakers like the titular wildcat of ‘Cougar’, this 10-track adolescent scream is said to be just a purr of the live energy that pouty blonde vocalist Sophie Little, Nathan Pounds, Mike Sheils, and twins Stevie and Maxie Gedge release on stage.

Progress to date has seen their debut release ‘Means To An End’ named single of the week by The Guardian, praise and air time from Radio One’s Steve Lamacq and Huw Stephens, and comparisons with the likes of riot grrl, Be Your Own Pet and Blondie. When asked, guitarist Maxie would like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs put on that list and, sure, you can hear some similar elements: Little’s vocals rise above the jungle of bass and guitar in ‘Cry Yourself To Sleep’, capturing the honey-lacquered steel of Karen O, but her vocals are more often edged with the blunt attitude of youth; the music is energising and foot-stamping, but explodes every which way, not yet having hardened the control, precision and diversity of the Yeahs; and there is the aggression, expression and shouting, but it hasn’t yet found its focus.

With lines like “We drink, we eat, we talk, we fuck”, The Brownies throw alcohol- and sex-saturated adolescence against the cage bars for all to see. Characterised by shouts of “You make my knickers warm and my lips hot red” and “I can’t stand the thought of my hand holding yours”, The Brownies tell it like it is. In fact, they don’t just tell it like it is, they shout it into your face. ‘Cougar’ opens with Little stating unambiguously “You mark me like you mark your territory / I’ll ride you and you can claw me” – cue a Brownies’ trademark upping of the pace as the drums, bass and guitar become one snarling beast of sound. Little spurs them on with “Flash flash! It turns me on…”, making the guitars grate even faster to a louder, more frantic beat as she repeats her arousal over and over, transforming it from statement to beseechment to scream of pleasure and pain.

Although lacking some consistency, Ourknife Yourback proves that if The Brownies are the uncooked cake mixture of the Yeahs, then it is certainly naughty but delightful to run your fingers around the bowl and enjoy them. Received by the music industry as energetic, fresh and exciting, they are charging down the A11 towards Cambridge, Norwich to the rear, with an album that drips with genuine, raw passion. And who knows what will happen once they’ve been in the oven for a while.

Joanne Gibson
UK release date: 22/06/09; www.myspace.com/thebrownies


1 Comment so far
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Hey Gedgie Girls! Tell your dad to email me about what the Gedge/Gibsons are up to! :) Uncle Gib is wondering where the heck everyone is – including your dad/other uncles! geez! Love, your american auntie

Comment by aunt cheryl

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