Is it time for the grunge revival yet? What about Britpop? Ali Barter probably doesn't fit snugly in either pigeonhole, but the very notion should be enough to tell you where her sound is coming from.

The Melbourne-based singer songwriter's debut album is loud and proud, like Courtney Barnett turned up to 11.

But don't get lost in the catchy guitar hooks, Barter has a way with lyrics too. Her breakthrough single Girlie Bits details the treatment of women in the music industry: "Give us a smile, princess, it's better for business," she sings sweetly. "You don't understand what it's like to be a man," she repeats.

Another standout track is Cigarette, which asks questions about male superficiality, about the reduction of a woman to her looks. "If I shaved my head would you tell your friends you don't really care."


The album harks back to the 90s guitar pop era, with Barter's vocals a meeting of L7 and Veruca Salt, and the odd nod to Smashing Pumpkins in the music (she has cited Billy Corgan as an influence).

Beware: the heavy guitars can be a bit of an onslaught for the ears, but like all good rock music, that's what we're here for.

Rating: 4/5 stars