Dawn Chorus #6: Breakup Haircut – What Did You Expect? I Got It Off the Internet!

Dawn Chorus #6: Breakup Haircut – What Did You Expect? I Got It Off the Internet!

We’re kicking off our week and ending our September with this first release from First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut with What Did You Expect? I Got it Off the Internet!

Breakup Haircut What Did You Expect? I Got It on the Internet! cover artArtist: Breakup Haircut
Album: What Did You Expect? I Got It Off the Internet!
Label: Hell Hath No Fury
Year of release: 2019
Genre: punk-pop

With every band which graduates from First Timers Fest – where each band is playing their debut show – the evidence mounts for pinning procrastination to the wall and just getting on with making music.

This first release from alumni Breakup Haircut (who played this year’s festival – meaning, for the avoidance of doubt, they are startlingly new) is all feeling and zero fucks, snarling yet witty lyrics, driving bass and powerful punk pop melody. A pretty perfect five-track vortex of influences and fast-living with a slacker aesthetic.

The whole thing opens with a bubbling of bass, a slightly mournful guitar line which quickly turns its mood around, as the highly relatable lyrics from which the track takes its title (‘I (Don’t) Wanna Do Things’) kick in “I wanna do things / but I don’t want to wanna do things” with the petulant cry of ambition thwarted by the exhaustion of daily life. With this Breakup Haircut has instantly found that sweet spot of creating riotously joyous songs from feelings of extreme ennui, and drag ultra confidence from between the cracks of self-doubt.

At my age I’m not sure I’m supposed to still find ‘Why Can’t I Be Cool Enough To Move To Berlin?’ quite as relatable as I do, but here we are. Kitchen scissors and Peroxide in hand as I stare down my reflection in the mirror, this track playing loud on repeat, simultaneously feeling disappointed and fiercely in awe as cymble crashes give stunted punctuation and I surrender to singing along to sad songs with the happiest of tunes.

By the midpoint of ‘Kim Pine’ we are getting snarling Riot Grrrl vocal to lift the chorus beyond the softer backing vocal, and its hear perhaps the lo-fi nature of the recording shows through hardest – a little polish on the production here could lift this track from brilliant underground demo to indie-scene darling. Not out of place alongside the likes of Skating Polly or Slutever it’s pretty clear this band hasn’t just put together a solid first release but could have a bright future ahead of themselves too.

The final two tracks on this release are where it really kicks off. ‘Mystery Inc’ is melodically a grainy distortion of Martha and The Muffins ‘Echo Beach’, with those layered backing vocals underpinning the lead gabbling a tale of being undecided about hunting the undead or partying (we’ve all been there, come on…). It might reference Scooby Doo with the title but it’s Buffy’s Scooby Gang Valley speak and ’90s grunge which burn away at the borders of this track.

Closing with ‘Mum, I Wanna Be A Greaser’ this is a two-minute frenzy of rock n roll call and response between guitar and singer, raising all the imagery of the ’50s dawn of teenage revolution. It is a track which constantly teeters on the edge of falling apart – the speed, the fun fumble through the melody, the shouts, the letting go and stepping out from under expectation to be what it is. Lyrically it is another moment of inner conflict between what you want to be, and what you are and the energy needed to make possibilities reality, but most of all it is witty fun and gloriously innocent music making. This track – this EP in fact – is pure perfect punk pop.

* NB: This EP is listed on some streaming platforms under the title What Did You Expect? I Got it On the Internet!

Dawn Chorus is a week day feature sharing an album to listen to on your morning commute, the school run, or at other times with the intention of surfacing classics you might not have given time to yet, indulging in old favourites, and helping you discover the best of new releases. If you’d like to suggest an album for the feature, or contribute a guest write up on an album you think more people should hear, get in touch

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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