Since the release of their debut single ‘Laundries’ back in 2020 – a brooding reflection on the grim realities that “fallen women” faced in Ireland’s cruel Magdalene institutions – intersectional feminists M(h)aol have been building a backdrop of vital and visceral post punk sound. Taking their name from the defiant Irish historical figure Gráinne Mhaol (pronounced “male”), the band have worked hard to create space – both sonically and physically – for issues and communities that have been traditionally overlooked in male dominated music spheres.
M(h)aol carried these urgent intentions into their 2021 EP Gender Studies, a vehement rejection of outdated attitudes concerning gender, identity and equality. Now, with their debut full length record Attachment Styles – set for release via TULLE Collective on 3rd Feb – the band have crafted a searing collection of cathartic cacophonies that provide a potent antidote to toxic patriarchy.
Through scathing lyrics, thudding beats and distorted riffs, the five piece – made up of Róisín Nic Ghearailt, Constance Keane, Jamie Hyland, Zoe Greenway and Sean Nolan – have transformed their ruminations on oppressive social structures into a cutting musical manifesto. Whilst they make space for rage on Attachment Styles, there’s also room for humour and healing too. The record’s title in particular hints towards identifying and accepting our own patterns of behaviour in order to deal with an overwhelming world more effectively.
Written and recorded in a single room across seven days, the ten songs that form Attachment Styles cover everything from violent misogyny and everyday sexism (‘No-One Ever Talks To Us’) to celebrating bisexual visibility (‘Bisexual Anxiety’, ‘Nice Guys’), having sex while menstruating (‘Period Sex’) and a cherished family pet (‘Kim Is A Punk Type Dog’). Whether the band are aggressively dismantling the narratives that perpetuate victim-blaming on opener ‘Asking For It’, defying social monotony on the wry ‘Bored Of Men’, or simply being candid on the breathy, sultry ‘Period Sex’ – they do so with a tenacious spirit.
Vocalist Nic Ghearailt’s considered lyrics are one of the record’s strongest elements. Her clear intonation and impressive blend of faux-calm spoken word and scathing yells command attention for the duration of the album. From eerie piano sounds and haunting strings, to heart-thumping beats and gritty distortion, her bandmates help her instigate the pursuit of peace amidst the cruelty and chaos of the subjects they take aim at. The intense writing and recording process for Attachment Styles – and the fact that the band are all close friends too – clearly aided this impressive feat.
As with their previous EP, the songs on M(h)aol’s debut album will hit hardest when experienced live. In order to feel the unifying and defiant force that inspired the record’s conception, make sure you grab a ticket to one of M(h)aol’s upcoming tour dates below.
Pre-order your copy of Attachment Styles here
M(h)aol UK Tour Dates 2023
May 19th – Newcastle – Bobiks
May 20th – Glasgow – The Hug and Pint
May 22nd – Leeds – Hyde Park Book Club
May 23rd – Manchester – YES (Pink Room)
May 25th – London – Boston Music Room
May 26th – Brighton – The Hope & Ruin
Photo Credit: Naomi Williams