Since their formation, A Void – the London-via-Paris triple threat of guitarist/vocalist Camille Alexander, bassist Aaron Hartmann, and drummer/backing vocalist Marie Niemiec – have been channelling their societal frustrations into a style of unapologetic alt-noise-grunge all of their own, with a punk-as-fuck riot grrrl attitude. From their 2016 EP, Roses As Insides, to their 2018 debut LP, Awkward and Devastated, A Void exude cathartic rage through raw visceral energy.
Mixed and mastered by Jason Wilson at Stakeout Studios, A Void’s sophomore LP Dissociation is a more mature record, spanning a song-writing period of two years, but no less aggressive than their previous offerings. Opening with the one-two punch of ‘Sad Events Reoccur’ – a six-minute punk rager presented in two parts – the trio take no prisoners with a Dinosaur Jr.-esque fuzz.
Propelled by L7 inspired chaotic energy and Hartmann’s heavy-as-fuck basslines, Alexander and Niemiec’s sing/screaming vocal harmonies throughout ‘Stepping on Snails’ encourage us to break free from anxiety, and embrace life through hypnotic grunge. Alexander’s intoxicating punk guitar groove throughout ‘One of a Kind’ is relatively calm in contrast to the trashing breakdown of ‘Newspapers’ – “Instead of destroying myself, I decided to destroy everyone’s ears!” – and its doom-sounding counterpart ‘Bag of Skulls’. Whiplash is expected!
‘Sick As a Dog’ follows as a dark, cathartic track detailing the fear of abandonment; “the idea of channelling pain through several emotional states”. Mental health is a reoccurring theme in the band’s lyrics – Alexander not shying away from her emotions as she screams with a sense of hopelessness: “When all the changes make you lose the plot / and bring you into a state of dissociation.”
From the distorted guitar sludge of ‘2B Seen’ to the softer dissonant strings of ‘5102’, A Void’s bewitching sound is vampiric, demanding your energy as you headbang along to the snap of Niemiec’s rhythm, and Alexander’s emotional outbursts: “I’d rather face my fears alone than with someone like you / …toxic mermaids are swimming around you / They wanna suck all the blood that’s inside you!”
Taking inspiration from nineties punk-infused grunge, reminiscent of Hole, Silverchair and Sonic Youth, the nostalgia-inducing playfulness of ‘In Vain’ and ‘Bad Habits’ leads to the anthemic closing track ‘Sonic Untitled’ – a vitriolic attack on toxic masculinity. “Just give and give and give and give and give and get nothing! / So scared to live in the shadow of a woman…”
“When you compose an album like this, each song is a reflection of a different personality…”, the band explain. From mental health and heartbreak to womanhood, A Void confidently stage-dive into twelve cathartic tracks of justified punk rock angst; delivering a deeply personal record of riotous grunge.
Dissociation, the new album from A Void, is out now. Buy here.