Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pega Monstro : Alfarroba

Satisfying rock experiments making one want to flip a cartwheel are captured on this new album by Pega Monstro.   ‘Alfarroba’ is comprised of ten dizzying songs displaying stellar reaches of what a core set up made up with drums, guitar and keyboard can truly achieve.  Sisters Julia Reis and Maria Reis are the pair behind Pega Monstro.   The name translates to ‘catch the monster’ but is also linked to a jelly shaped toy hand attached to a string that kids throw at each other in the band’s home of Lisbon, Portugal.  The sisters began playing music together when they were 15 and 17 respectively although they started out in other bands before making the move to write and perform together.  In 2010 Julia and Maria launched Cafetra Records, their own label with a focus on celebrating Portugal’s garage punk scene.  Pega Monstro’s momentum grew after self-releasing their first EP ‘O Juno-60 Nunca Teve Fita’, which was followed by their debut album in 2012 - and as if the band needed any further assurance things were going in the right direction B Fachada, a prominent figure in Portuguese music produced their work.   

And here we are, with the latest offering and second full length release from Pega Monstro ‘Alfarroba’ (Upset The Rhythm).  ‘Alfarroba’ references a sugary flavoured bean called ‘carob’ which can be found growing on wild trees that sprout up randomly along the Mediterranean coast.  The songs deal with love, growing up as well as reflecting on the process of writing songs and describing things from a woman’s viewpoint.   Maria’s guitar eddies and chugs through my song of the summer ‘Branca’, I don’t speak a word of Portuguese but now am singing “shoe, sha, shee” compulsively and some might argue incessantly – it’s so bloody catchy.  Bursting in fun with its dreamy melody and overdriven approach, ‘Branca’ aptly shows how unswerving and sensational this album is.  The interesting thing about Pega Monstro is it seems as though they draw from a frame of mind as opposed to sifting through their record collections for ideas.  What we’re given is something that purely represents them in the process, ‘Alfarroba’ isn’t trying to fit in anywhere rather it embraces sounds that come naturally, and for that reason it stands boldly amongst many bands using guitar, drums and keyboards.  ‘Estrada’ blasts bright hooks, angelic vocals, Julia's hyper drums and curiously plummets into metal groves which further unravel into psych inspired breakdowns; revealing the diverse elements incorporated into the album.  ‘Alfarroba’ has a softer side too ‘Fado d’A’gua Fria’ has a soothing sort of lullaby quality that envelops folk into a mesmeric moment on Side B.  Have you had enough of the gushing yet?  I really tried to rein it in here, but it all just came pouring out.  Pega Monstro does something vivid and exuberant in their song-writing and this just spills over to those who encounter it.  Truly an exciting new band worthy of your time – you have a chance to see them this Saturday too (15th August) at The Vicotria in Dalston BUY TICKETS HERE!