Having wowed us live with their scuzzy, joyous punk-pop at our January gig at The Victoria, First Timers Fest alumni Breakup Haircut have just released their debut album – Punk Dancing For Self Defence. A collection of joyously lo-fi pop punk reflecting on themes ranging from social anxiety and break-ups to bi-erasure and existing in a Capitalist society. Propelled by a jangly, uplifting energy with gritty angst-driven undertones, the band’s colourful charisma and sparkling charm shines through each track with a striking relatable poignancy, creating an utterly necessary listen. Whether you need cheering up with some buoyant danceable anthems, or simply want to immerse yourself in the band’s raw emotion and relatable, resonant reflections on life, Punk Dancing For Self Defence will provide you with the aural comfort you need right now.
We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of their debut album, we caught up with members of Breakup Haircut to ask about the music that has inspired them the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and listen to latest single ‘I’d Say Yes‘ at the bottom of this feature.
Pat Benatar – Greatest Hits
I could pick my favourite Pat Benatar album, but I’m going to pick specifically the random ‘Greatest Hits’ album that my Dad bought off a market stall when I was a teenager and we were living in the USA. It was one of the first albums that I basically ‘permanently borrowed’ from my parents’ music collection. I fell in love with the intense and energetic ‘80s rock sound. I have always particularly loved music that generates energy and feels kinetic and I don’t think I’d heard anything that sounded so huge, epic and all big emotions before at that age (and as a teenager, I was of course relating to big emotions particularly strongly at the time). Their music had an intense energy and sincerity that I really connected with. Pat Benatar’s powerful and emotive voice; her aspirationally cool, badass attitude in her singing and lyrics, plus Neil Giraldo’s amazing guitar solos were also a big draw. Pat Benatar is probably best known for ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ and ‘Love is a Battlefield’ in the UK (both awesome songs). I think their music was a lot more popular stateside than here, as a variety of their songs used to be played on rock radio there a lot. My favourites were songs like the emotional and epic ‘Promises In The Dark’ (the bridge vocal build and following emotional guitar solo is so amazing that I often end up listening to that section an extra time after finishing the whole song), and the inspirational ‘Invincible’ that makes you feel badass and ready for anything (it’s also a perfect inspirational training montage song).
Kimya Dawson – Remember That I Love You
I don’t get a whole lot of time to listen to new music – my partner actually spends a lot of time doing that, and makes this big playlist of releases of the year I should listen to which is hanging over my head. But a staple of my favourites in rotation is Remember That I Love You by Kimya Dawson. I found it when I was around 13 or 14, I remember seeing her at St Martin-in-the-Fields when I was 15 or so and meeting her. But I feel like that’s an album that has stayed with me through my years, because Kimya Dawson is someone that I take a lot of inspiration from, even a decade later – I think her work is so simple and poignant that it is really cutting. I love it because that allows for its hooks to be catchy without complication, something that relates down to the core. It’s pop, but it’s totally anti-pop. Everyone in the world would be better for listening to it once in a while, just to remember that the human condition is just a lot – and hearing it in such a simple way is kind of gutting.
Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American
I think I‘ll have to pick Bleed American by Jimmy Eat World. This album came out whilst I was in a difficult period in my life and somehow, this album enabled me to allow myself to feel. ‘The Middle’ is to this day one of my favourite songs of all time. It was a pep talk and in song form. I’ve always struggled with lack of self-esteem and being self-critical so it was a good reminder that doing your best is all you can do and it’s okay to not succeed at the first try. It also reinforced the idea that one shouldn’t listen to people being overly critical when they know nothing about you and your circumstances and that you should do what you want rather than what other people say you must want.
Biffy Clyro – Puzzle
My pick is Puzzle by Biffy Clyro. I can’t remember how old I was – but it felt like a whole lifetime ago – I was at this super house party. The conversation is going great and I heard ‘Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies’ come on. It was the first time both me and my friend had heard it and it instantly grabbed us. You’ve got the big build up and the shrill strings in the pre-chorus. I think we both dropped what we were doing to try to find the CD so we could steal it. For a good 9-15 months it was in contact rotation with other music we would listen to. We’d play ‘Now I’m Everyone’ whenever someone had a match or needed hyping up. I wasn’t really drumming at that time but when I started, this album became more important in trying to replicate the sound. The drumming on the album is especially interesting as it’s semi-technical and semi-mental. Some parts you just have to feel where the notes are, rather than learning the specific sticking. You also have songs like ‘Love Has a Diameter’ which are more soppy but still can maintain a strong groove and pace.
Band Combo Decision:
Green Day – American Idiot
With four of us in the band and five albums to choose, we decided to pick one album each and one shared choice. American Idiot was a young Ripley’s gateway album to a life-long obsession with rock and punk music, one of Ishani’s first discoveries from her brother’s speakers, the album that rekindled Delphine’s love for everything rock ‘n’ roll after a short stint into EDM.
Ripley’s favourite track: ‘Letterbomb’. An underrated high energy song from the latter end of the album. I always loved the intro build to this and the high energy mixed with nihilism vibes that this song gives off. It just sounded so huge, dramatic and intense to me when I was younger, with the driving bass and drums and sweeping guitar melodies. It’s one of those songs where it feels like it has so much energy that it has spare to hand over to you, and you can’t help but feel energised and ready to go by listening to it.
Ishani’s favourite track: ‘Homecoming’. I was always more of an early Green Day fan, like Dookie/Nimrod, but this came out at a time when I wasn’t paying that much attention to music beyond what came muffled out of my brother’s room. He played this a lot – I love the highs and lows, the harmonies, the theatricality of it – it feels like it was written for a stadium, it’s almost dadly.
Jordan’s favourite track: ‘She’s A Rebel’. American Idiot was the first album I was excited to buy. I was taken up to central London with my grandma and we went into the Virgin Megastore in order to get a copy. It was so catchy and well produced, and it’ll always be remembered fondly. I say that I rarely ever listen back to this album now because having tracks 3 to 6 actually being eight songs has got to be the most colossally stupid fucking idea ever conceived. Why would you do that? ‘She’s A Rebel’ is my favourite and I have to sit through ‘Give Me Novacaine’ in order to get to it. Terrible.
Delphine’s favourite track: ‘Jesus of Suburbia’. Mostly because it covers all the topics that encompass what a generation of disenchanted kids would feel strongly about. Green Day has always been engaged in their lyrics and giving the finger to the establishment. I guess, in this album, it’s that song.
Massive thanks to Breakup Haircut for their amazing album choices for their Five Favourites! Listen to their latest single ‘I’d Say Yes’ now:
Punk Dancing For Self Defence, the debut album from Breakup Haircut, is out now via Reckless Yes. Buy on Bandcamp now.