reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
When I was a kid my siblings and I began describing things as “hamster soft” — when something is so soft that your fingertips don’t register sensation. “Hamster soft” is what came to my mind as Bratty’s vocals drifted below the instrumentation on Boy Talk!. Unfolding like an old radio being re-tuned every now and then, but always unveiling soft compositions, Boy Talk! has a jangly modern feel that underscores its soul. Hold it still to feel its complexity.
The album opens up with the lyrically simple “Boy Talk”, which introduces the vibes of the EP before shifting into “Miserable” — a song that uses flashes of adolescent imagery to define the awkwardness that is a precursor to experience. “Two Night Stand” opens and closes with a taste of something nostalgic and 80s fuelled, but the meat of the song is with loss, described in spicy modernity. Bratty describes this EP as “Songs in the key of grindr” and it feels most true on “Two Night Stand”.
“No More Sad Songs” is both the longest and the catchiest track on the EP, and sets itself apart as a standout without losing the techniques and patterns that gives Bratty his personality. Beginning with a sample clip introducing the theme of dreams, the song opens up personally, an attempt to stop writing sad songs that doesn’t seem to succeed, though the track does. “Straight Men” breaks away from the buried vocals to make a point with its lyrics — an observation about the world that is as biting as it is true.
Bratty’s Boy Talk! is, if not comforting in subject matter, comforting in tone. It is the gentleness of an old blanket, a faded radio sound on a rainy day. Boy Talk! is hamster soft, and I want to keep feeling it long after I pull my hand away.
Top Track: “No More Sad Songs”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)