A horrible hack

Bernays Propaganda

Zabraneta Planeta

Year Released: 2013
Format: CD
Label: MoonLee
Reviewed by Edward Ling on May 21, 2013
Moonlee Records are the main movers in a rather vibrant regional scene in the Balkans and South East Europe, and this lot (Bernays Propaganda) are one of their bedrock acts. The darkly political cover art, an image of a bare chested child smoking a fag against a backdrop of faintly sinister Cyrillic script and rubble suggests this is going to be heavy going. However. What you get is a real surprise. This is stylish and assured female-fronted post-punk, somewhere on a line between the best of the new-wave revival crowd and the Gossip - and something altogether harder. Swept along along by infectious and complex percussion and simple punk basslines, with varied female vocals, sometimes whispered, sometimes snarled – you may be tempted to call this “indie rock”. However. There’s nothing fey or limp about this. Matters start lightly enough, taking you in with catchy little numbers, some reminiscent of Fugazi at their most melodic - and building up to tracks 6 and 7, which are proper standouts. Title track “Zabreta Planeta” is edgy, and thick with Steve Albini-esque guitars and bass - and “Ordinary Toy”, one of only two English language tracks on the album, is three minutes of perfect anti-pop, and that should have BBC Radio 6 all fucking over it. Be advised though that most of the album is in Serbo-Croat which some might find a little jarring. I personally enjoy the Slavic delivery – it's full of glottality and character, vocal tricks and hooks you don’t get with English, French or the Scandy languages. But I guess the obscure language, and the obscure origin – the band hail all the way from Skopje deep in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - will probably always be a bar to this getting airplay or live exposure in the UK. But seriously. Try this. Please. It's actually really, really good.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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