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Pega Monstro: Alfarroba


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From the label:
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Pega Monstro are sisters Julia Reis (drums) and Maria Reis (guitar, keyboard; both sing). The duo’s name translates as ‘catch the monster’, perfectly countering the band’s striving dream-punk sound. The name also references a novelty toy in the shape of a jelly hand on a string, which children have been throwing at each other in delight for many generations in their native country. Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, Maria and Julia have been playing music together since they were 15 and 17 respectively, in other groups first before resolving on becoming a duo. Back in 2010, both sisters started a record label, along with some of their musician friends, called Cafetra Records to document Portugal’s garage punk scene. Cafetra represents a community of like-minded musicians who all help each other, making music that they’d want to hear, powered by enthusiasm. Pega Monstro were among the first bands on the label, releasing their O Juno-60 Nunca Teve Fita EP the same year to a burgeoning audience of devotees, who’d turn up in growing numbers to each show and sing back the lyrics. The songs on second album Alfarroba deal with many themes, some universal topics like love and growing up, others focusing on the nature of writing songs themselves, whilst some try to make sense of the world from a female perspective. ‘Braco de Ferro’ kick starts the album with torrents of energy, translating as ‘arm wrestling’ the song’s title is apt for a track so full of back-and-forth, ‘no prisoners’ phrasing. Julia and Maria excel at bouncing ideas off each other, snare rolls trigger flights of guitar, fogs of cymbal form steps for the vocal to climb. ‘Branca’ is a song with a propulsion so compelling that it’s hard not to just start spinning around with your arms trailing out like helicopter blades. The vocals drive against the drums, the drums push up against the guitar, it all feels gloriously lightheaded and overridingly positive in attitude. Songs like ‘Fado D’Água Fria’ and ‘És Tudo O Que Eu Queria’ also showcase the Pega Monstro’s more reflective mood too, with both songs pausing for the clouds to pass, delivering some well-anticipated melancholic moments to offset the album’s otherwise dizzying ascent. Alfarroba was produced and mixed by Leonardo Bindilatti, a good friend of the band and Cafetra Records. Bindilatti has worked on many releases from the close-knit group of bands from Lisbon, including his own Putas Bebadas, this familiarity comes through on the recording too. Nothing feels rushed, there’s a leisure afforded in getting everything sounding just right. Pega Monstro make rapturous music, it’s brisk, it’s contagious, it laughs at the language barrier and just keeps running headlong into more and more new ideas.”
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Alfarroba is out now via Upset The Rhythm; listen to “Braco De Ferro” below.
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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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