ALBUM: pink suits – ‘political child’

Having first formed back in 2017, Margate based queer punk-rock duo pink suits incorporate politically driven rage, dance and even theatre into their work, exploring issues of sexuality, mental health and a resistance of binary gender. Blasting into our ears at the end of last year with their raging single ‘Fake Great Britain’, they are now set to release their debut album political child later this month. 

A collection of thirteen tracks, each as poignantly charged as the last, the album sets out pink suits’ manifesto with a raging, angst-driven energy. With just drums, a guitar and the riotous force of their voices, Lennie and Ray offer an inclusive Feminist rebellion to bring about radical change. Truly a soundtrack for these times; a rallying cry to make our voices heard and fight for an upheaval of a neoliberal society. 

Kicking off with ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’, the album starts as it means to go on: with a seething, all-too-poignant social commentary on the increasingly terrifying state of the UK right now. As intense beats and whirring hooks provide the backdrop for gritty blazing vocals, an impending sense of doom is created, reflecting the way many of us are feeling right now and the urgency felt in the need to “… strip authority from all abusive powers”. 

Continuing in a similar vein, ‘Decades Back’ and ‘Salute To The Sun’ ooze the duo’s quirky, playful energy as swirling punk-rock riffs race with an impassioned, riotous zest. Next up, stand out single ‘Fake Great Britain’ pretty much epitomises the message of political child as a whole. Propelled by a frenzied power and scuzzy hooks, it hits you with its raw, punk-fuelled lyricism raging against austerity and the fake ‘great’ ideals of a post-Brexit UK. With a ferocious passion, it’s a rallying cry against this government and the intolerance it promotes, its lies and the detrimental effects it’s had on all of our mental health. A perfect queer punk anthem inciting us to fight fascism with all our might. 

Perhaps more uptempo in sound, ‘We Can Shout’ reflects on the power of protest and the need to stand up to authority. With the seething cry “we can break it from the inside out”, pink suits seem to assert the importance of spreading information and discrediting the fake news we are so often fed by the right wing press. Touching on a theme that is particularly resonant right now – with the government trying to take away our right to protest – the track manages to firmly lodge its important message in your ears with its catchy refrains and buoyant energy.

The next three tracks seem to stand alone as their own entities, stepping away from the trademark punk-driven force of the rest of the album, showcasing the many different sides to pink suits and their eclectic sonic capabilities. Whilst ‘Gold Girl’ treats us to a Riot Grrrl reminiscent angst-driven power as penetrating screams blast out across the scuzzy soundscape, ‘Be The Best’ is propelled by steady marching beats offering a tongue-in-cheek commentary on toxic masculinity, and addressing the damaging importance that the government places on the military and arms trade, as well as the dangerous patriotism rooted in the desire to fight against other nationalities. And then there’s ‘3AM’: what appears to be a soothing respite from the seething rage of other tracks as the duo take a twinkling moment of personal reflection. 

Returning to their vibrant fist-clenching energy, the next two tracks awaken the senses with a racing force. Following ‘This Hole’, ‘Anarchist Wisdom’ offers a raging reflection on the prejudice that’s so rife in society – name-checking some of those responsible for spreading hatred, going against both morality and humanity. As a ferocious screech of “be a Feminist” blasts into the ears, I feel a shiver down my spine; with this immensely powerful sonic storm, pink suits just seem to magnificently capture the burning anger, frustration and sadness that so many of us are feeling right now.

Drawing the album to a close, the final three tracks continue with a similarly empowering energy. Following the seething statement of intent of the collection’s title track, ‘Scarred’ is propelled by a driving punk energy as it builds in tempo to a wonderfully frenzied climax. Finally, ‘Pink Suits Everyone’ may appear more melodic in sound than the majority of the album, but is no less pressing in its stirring intent. Offering a vibrant message of inclusivity and hope, here the duo urge us to come together and unite against the powers that seek to contain us. 

With political child, pink suits have not only created a completely necessary and ferociously poignant listen, but have done so whilst oozing an infectious vibrant energy and colourful charisma, cementing each of their raging, yet catchy, offerings firmly in our ears, leaving us longing to catch their colossal, swirling power live (we may have news on that this week…).

political child offers a perfect riotous catharsis; an immense formidable force, coated in a rousing cacophony, calling us to arms in these truly terrifying times. 

political child is out 16th April. It was recorded, mixed and mastered by Aim4 Recording, Canterbury.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Kathryn A Betts

LISTEN: Natalie and the Monarchy – ‘Envy the Villain’

A lavish reflection on the emotional toll a dual identity can take on your wellbeing, Liverpool-based American born artist Natalie and the Monarchy has shared her latest single ‘Envy the Villain’. Inspired by her own experiences as a professional dominatrix, the track is a “dark cabaret” of Natalie’s thoughts about her own struggles, with a riot grrrl, grunge-infused twist.

“The song’s title is referring to the self-destructive behaviour I experienced when taking on the role of ‘Mistress Veronica’ as a professional dominatrix,” Natalie explains. “It’s about wanting to be that confident and intimidating character 24/7 and the identity struggle that a lot of sex-workers have between the fantasy and the real world.” Marking her first release since her 2019 EP Pretty little Flower, ‘Envy the Villain’ is a playful dissection of the self, as well as a personal take on what it means to conceal, or reveal your true identity in a world that tries to “other” the experiences of women and of female sex workers.

The track is accompanied by a video, shot and edited by Jenn Cliff-Wilcocks and Richard Garland, which shows Natalie contrasting her “weaker, submissive” side against the devilish flair of Mistress Veronica, who is personified as a devil in latex leisurely eating cake.

Watch the video for ‘Envy The Villain’ below.

Follow Natalie and the Monarchy on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

EP: Gold Baby – ‘Rabbits’

Gold Baby’s debut EP, Rabbits, is a real treat for the ears and soul. The band – fronted by singer-songwriter Siân Alex – show their versatility with this accomplished and assured collection of lush, folk-infused dream pop.

Opener ‘Bodie’ is the soothing soundtrack we all need right now. With retro, woozy guitars and drums that thump like a heartbeat, it has echoes of ’60s girl groups. And like those glorious, bittersweet ballads that bands like The Ronettes or The Shangri-Las sang back then, ‘Bodie’’s lyrics dwell on loneliness and longing. It’s a real standout.

The band show their playful, experimental side with ‘2041’ – a punk-inspired number with jerky spiky guitars and a lo-fi, shouty chorus (“And I said NO!”) that act as the perfect foil to Siân’s pure, calming voice. It’s brave and brilliant; the sound of a band who refuse to be pigeon-holed and are keen to grow and evolve.

Closing tracks ‘Betty’ and recent single, ‘Captain Dorego’, are quieter, deeper and more confessional, reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens and The Unthanks – very much in the folk storytelling tradition. ‘Captain Dorego’ is particularly affecting, dealing with Siân’s experiences of being overstimulated by modern life. Something that, in these crazy times, we can all relate to.

Ultimately, with Rabbits, Gold Baby show that they can both soothe you and make you shimmy (check out the video for ‘Captain Dorego’ for more of the latter!). The band’s confidence and chemistry, coupled with Siân’s raw, self-revelatory songwriting and beautiful vocals, come together on this release to create something that’s pure magic. Listen if you want something pretty that packs a real punch!

Rabbits is out now. Download via Gold Baby’s bandcamp

Vic Conway

Track Of The Day: Julia-Sophie – ‘and you know it’

Gothic tones swirl in a bath of glimmering synths as haunting vocals sing in Julia-Sophie’s second shimmering single, ‘and you know it‘. Dark, heavyweight pads modulate downwards and spiral into delays that descend with a cathartic grace. As the track begins to rise, it spins elegantly and captivates listeners from the very start with the art of juxtaposition.

It is with avant-pop artist Julia-Sophie’s vocal delivery that we first fully catch a true breath of her deeply emotional, electronic track that lives within a similar realm as pop artist/creator FKA Twigs. With recoiling chorus tones, ‘and you know it’ features a reflexive mix that triggers sonic elements interpersonally, emulating the ricochet of an overwhelmed mind. 

Crisp, echoing percussion and melodic synths keep the deep track mobile, never overstaying their welcome with each purging section. As articulate as the instrumentation and effects are throughout, Julia-Sophie’s lyrics take no step back in the stakes of embodying a raw, emotive spectacle. Themes of grief, fear of abandonment and the heartbreak of being misunderstood define Julia-Sophie’s story in a genuine, stirring way.

</3, the upcoming new EP from Julia-Sophie, is set for release 22nd April.

Jill Goyeau
@jillybxxn