Spanish threesome BERRI TXARRAK was formed back in 1994, and have been an active live and recording unit ever since, and a rather popular one as well from what I understand. “Denbora Da Poligrafo Bakarra” is the name of their most recent production, an ambitious triple EP sporting 20 tracks, each EP featuring a different producer, and was released towards the end of 2014.
Those with an interest in language and linguistics might note that the language of choice for this band is Basque rather than Spanish, so those with a firm interest in lyrics will have to master that language to get to grips with that aspect of this production. One of those details that, presumably, will limit the reach of this band somewhat. Many music lovers does have a tendency to only listen to music whose lyrics they can understand after all.
For those without such requirements, or who does indeed master the Basque language, are in for an enjoyable ride through this triple EP set. And in this case a production that warrants that the material is spread over several CD’s rather than merely being compiled into one or two at that.
The first EP, “Sutxakurrak” is the one that made the greatest impression for me personally. Basically the band alternates between two major styles on these songs: A heavy, booming grunge type of arrangement and a solid, more aggressive expression closer to hardcore and post-punk the other. Hard, heavy and dark material when hitting the grunge territories, firm, vibrant and edgy when entering the more hardcore-oriented passages. Occasionally also with a slight post-rock touch to the arrangements.
The second EP, “Helduleku Guztiak”, takes the hardcore and punk aspects of the band and explore these inside more of an indie rock context. Indie rock, pop punk and mainstream oriented, melodic material is the name of the game on most of these excursions, most of them with what I’d describe as a strong and distinct radio friendly general mood and atmosphere. Some more distinct punk-oriented aggressive details appear here and there, but also material with a slight nod towards funk and perhaps even reggae, and the concluding track here also incorporate a strong and distinct psychedelic character to the landscapes explored. Again with occasional details adding a slight post-rock touch to the proceedings.
The third and concluding EP, “Xake-mate Kultural Bat”, has a stronger focus and orientation towards punk. At times with indie rock flavoring also here, and the punk aspect of the band as showcased here is closer aligned to contemporary punk and what many will describe as pop punk than it is to the traditional aggressive UK punk movement or the overarching hardcore scene that the UK punk movement was a part of. A bit more Green Day than Sex Pistols if you like.
While the material on each EP is rather different from one to the next, the material as such holds a high quality throughout. The producers have obviously each managed to emphasize their particular strengths to the material they have worked with, and with a tight and experienced band recording these compositions the end result is both compelling and appealing on a greater scale.
Those with an interest in a band whose style alternate between straight forward, melodic punk on one hand, tight and melodic indie rock with post-punk tendencies on the other and who are able and willing to shift over to metal and grunge territories as well should find this triple EP by Berri Txarrak to be worth taking for a spin or ten. In particular those with a special interest in language and linguistics, as well as those who know and love the Basque language and region.
My rating: 8/10
Sutxakurrak: Lanbroan; Ordaina; Alegia; Zimelkor; Armak; Etsia; Sutxakurrak
Helduleku Guztiak: Aditu bihurtuak; Bigarren itzala; Lemak, aingurak; Poligrafo bakarra; Bele erraldoia; Helduleku guztiak; 26 segundotan
Xake-mate Kultural Bat: Zerbait asmatuko dugu; Hemen sukaldarien herrian; Orain norbait zara; Hitzen oinarri ahula; Xake-mate kultural bat; Bigarren eskuko amets