Released today (24th June) via Hassle Records, feminist punks Petrol Girls truly embrace irreverence on their new album, Baby. While time often mellows the sound and vision of many bands, here it has only re-fuelled the band’s politics with an ever-growing potency. The vital themes of pure political rage, speaking out against sexual violence and immigration that underscored Petrol Girls’ 2016 debut, Talk of Violence, are powerfully replicated on Baby.
Whilst the band maintain their feminist punk roots – especially on rallying pro-choice lead single ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion’ – Petrol Girls transcend their musical origins throughout their new record. The album opens with 28 seconds of noise produced from a mash of sounds on the album, acting as a vibrant nod towards shoegaze. Guitarist Joe York was influenced by everything from electronic music and hip-hop, to New Wave bands like Talking Heads during the writing process for the album and the playful intro to ‘One Or The Other’ encapsulates this, with ‘Preachers’ further setting the raw experimental tone for the record.
Vocalist Ren Aldridge continues to deliver her breath-takingly vehement lyrics throughout Baby. Her clear intonation and powerful projection become consistently more impressive with each track, and when the subject matter does get more severe, her cathartic cries and screams provide a much needed emotional release. Activist and DIY punk Janey Starling also delivers superb guest vocals on ‘Fight For Our Lives’ and ‘Violent by Design’, both of which act as visceral moments of furious relief for listeners who have been marching on the streets for equality in the wake of public violence against women in recent years.
While the issues handled on Baby vary in weight, they all ultimately follow themes of femicide, police brutality and toxic “nice guys” (‘Sick & Tired’). The record is a genuine effort to dismantle these pervasive tropes and elements of society, fueled by righteous rage and impressive resilience. Petrol Girls should be proud of their new collection of fast-paced, vital anti-establishment anthems.
Order Petrol Girls’ new album Baby here
Photo Credit: Hanna Fasching