For some bands, a song title like "Pussycat Stomp" might suggest a cheeky exercise in sleazy strip-club exotica. For Pussycat Trash, however, this slow-burning number sounds so asexual that you have to wonder if the cat that teases is really just a cat. The musical and ideological territory where Pussycat Trash operates is closer to Bikini Kill (whom they supported on that band's first U.K. gig), Heavens to Betsy (whom they also supported in the U.K.), and Huggy Bear (whom Pussycat Trash's Rachel has played bass with) than to soft-core sex fantasies. If you're interested in this general musical turf, you may be intrigued by this album. The Brat Years collects Pussycat Trash's complete discography; it starts with the 17 tracks from the Non-stop Hip-Action album, which the band recorded in three days, and follows with their 7" releases and contributions to various-artist compilations. The selections are reasonably diverse musically: some are screeching, feedback-overloaded punk rants while other numbers are more sedate; the band adds special musical effects ranging from the sound of broken bottles to a harmonica played on an answering machine; and there are times when you can hear the angular rhythms and chanted vocals that would later characterize some of the work by Pussycat Trash bandmembers Rachel and Pete in Red Monkey. As the group states in the album's liner notes, Pussycat Trash wasn't particularly innovative and didn't perform with a great deal of technical precision, but they made up in energy and spirit for their limitations. Their music wasn't quite up to the standard of some of their compatriots and some of the album's 40 tracks (which breeze by in about 71 minutes) seem more like fragments than fully realized songs, but this is nonetheless a worthy collection that will appeal to some fans of riot grrrl and related styles of music.
1992-1995: The Brat Years Review
by Todd Kristel