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NOBRO – SET YOUR PUSSY FREE: REVIEW




NOBRO

Set Your Pussy Free (Dine Alone Music)


FOR THE SLOW LEARNERS, the ones who haven’t yet parsed the band name (maybe this will help: dude, put a space after the second letter), and for the really slow learners who haven’t figured out the album title is not an RSPCA ad (maybe this will help … actually, nothing will help you if you haven’t already figured this out), here are some guideposts.


Nobro are a four-piece from Montreal. A heaps fun four-piece from one of the heaps pretty cities of North America. Yes, Leonard Cohen came from there. No, they do not sound like him, though I think he might have raised an amused and wryly impressed eyebrow at their air-punching song Let’s Do Drugs, which may at first glance sound like an invitation to like fully go hard man (“Let’s do drugs/Your mom will never notice that they're gone/And if she did she'll think she counted wrong”) but reveals itself to be lightly mocking anyone trying frantically to reclaim their youth before it disappears in the rearview mirror, while understanding exactly why that might appeal.


For the past six years their lineup has been Kathryn McCaughey (bass/vocals), Karolane Carbonneau (guitar/vocals), Lisandre Bourdages (keys, percussion) and Sarah Dion (drums). If that isn’t too clear, they do not possess the attachments or interest in having the attachments that might have them called men. Nor do they feel it necessary to be under the direction – on or off stage; in public or in private – of men.


Indeed they would like to encourage a step away from such control. To, as they say, set your pussy free. Your pussy in this case being both literal and metaphorical I believe. (They’re not excluding men, if that is your concern: they have Dave Schiffman on hand for knob twiddling. Knobs in this case being technical/mechanical, not physiological, I presume.)



They do however have the bits necessary to play briskly, fast and faster. They can play pretty noisily at those tempos too. You might call them punkish – or as the Chinese Communist Party’s music division might once have said, punkish with pop characteristics – as long as your punk definition includes heaviness and not just brittle speed. The kind of heaviness that fuzzes up, swings low and does not have an ideological objection to solos. No mate, not metal, though you can touch the metallic bits while you’re singing/shouting along to the Detroit-ish title track. Or just jumping up and down, like in the new wave of New Wave that is Where My Girls At.


But just because they can play fast doesn’t mean they can’t slow down a bit and up the not-really-hidden pop sense (Let’s Get Outta Here’s snaking nod to Sleater-Kinney), get a little in-the-groove (the swinging I Don’t Feel Like It and the more mechanised dance of A.I. Sexbots) or balance between them all in Ramones leather jackets and jeans ((Delete Delete Delete is crying out for a hectic 1-2-3-4 count-in before its peak ‘60s girl group fandom – and it’s done in well under two minutes).


The quartet’s principal messages of we hear you/we are you and fuck this let’s go! get neatly wrapped up in the album’s stiff little jerks of a closer, Gimme More (Party Through The Pain), which tells you everything in the title and yet actually adds some lyrical layers in the shout-and-response before a musical layer of (and I swear it’s true) Beach Boys pops its sandy feet out from under the jeans.


Did I mention this is really fun? Good too. Oh yes bro.





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