ALBUM: M(h)aol – ‘Attachment Styles’

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M(h)aol carried these urgent intentions into their 2021 EP Gender Studies, a vehement rejection of outdated attitudes concerning gender, identity and equality.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.

Follow M(h)aol on SpotifybandcampFacebookTwitter & Instagram

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

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: Pretty Happy – ‘Conn Boxing’

**Trigger Warning: mention of sexual assault and rape culture**

Reiterating the vital outrage behind their original track ‘Conn Boxing’, today, Cork art punk trio Pretty Happy have shared a new video to accompany their ominous creation. Lifted from their EP, Echo Boy, released via Foggy Notions in 2022, the band have directed and produced the visuals to coincide with Imbolc (Saint Brigid’s Day), to hammer home the disturbing idiosyncrasies of rape culture in Ireland and further afield.

Attacking the fact that a local boxer’s reputation and trophy cabinet are more respected and revered than a local woman’s safety, ‘Conn Boxing’ calls out the deeply ingrained misogyny and double standards in both the sporting and wider social spheres. “They don’t even have a women’s bathroom,” counters vocalist and guitarist Abbey Blake about the boxing gym, between the repeated refrain “Conn Boxing has been producing superb/unbelievable/amazing/elite athletes for years.” Bassist Arann Blake’s simmering bass lines and drummer Andy Killian’s skittish percussion all contribute to the palpable sense of frustration underscoring the track, which gradually edges towards its nerve-shredding conclusion.

The visuals, which were filmed in the famous Linehans sweet shop in Shandon, Cork, also star actor Niamh Santry, who appeared in the band’s previous video for ‘Boots’. The conveyor-belt of sweet production seemingly personifies the production line of predators from the Conn Boxing gym, highlighting how women have to conceal their rage and attempt to move on in the overwhelming aftermath of sexual assault.

Along with the new video, Pretty Happy have also announced a string of UK & Ireland live dates, including tour support with Canadian post-punk band Preoccupations. Full dates can be found below.

Watch the video for ‘Conn Boxing’ here:

Pretty Happy UK Tour Dates 2023
09 February – New Adelphi Club, Hull (supporting Preoccupations)
10 February – Brudnell Social Club, Leeds (supporting Preoccupations)
11 February – Cork Opera House (supporting The Sultans of Ping)
12 February – District, Liverpool (supporting Preoccupations)
16 February – London Scala (supporting Preoccupations)
18 February – Windmill, Brixton

Follow Pretty Happy on bandcampSpotifyInstagramTwitter & Facebook

Photo Credit: Celeste Burdon Photography

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

New Track: ARXX – ‘Ride Or Die’

I challenge you to listen to this new one from absolute faves ARXX without hitting repeat at least 10 times… It’s just such a totally infectious anthem. Following acclaim for recent singles ‘The Last Time’ and ‘Couldn’t Help Myself’ from the likes of NME, DIY and BBC 6Music, ‘Ride Or Die‘ premiered on Clara Amfo’s show on BBC Radio 1 last week.

All propelled by thrashing, impeccable time-keeping from Clara, ‘Ride Or Die’ showcases the gritty, emotion strewn vocals of Hanni, alongside sweeping catchy pop hooks and an empowering euphoria of unified voices singing along with the chorus. An utterly uplifting celebration of queer love and platonic friendship, it’s the perfect sing-along anthem live. Being able to share a room full of adoring fans, all joining in joyously with “I would” at The Social a few months back was a blissfully memorable experience that I hope to re-live very soon.

Of the track, the duo explain:

“To us it’s about a lot of things, primarily it speaks about the kind of commitment and dedication to something you love, that means there is no possible or conceivable way that you would give up on it. In one breath it is an unapologetic celebration of queer love, and in the next breath it expresses the unwavering determination that we both hold for our band.

Another truly impressive offering from one of the most exciting – and completely lovely – bands in the universe. ARXX continue to establish themselves as master creators of the freshest, most addictive and most empowering, indefinable euphoric anthems, and I couldn’t be happier that they exist.

Produced by Steve Ansell (Blood Red Shoes) and mastered by Katie Tavini (Arlo Parks), ‘Ride Or Die’ is out now via Submarine Cat Records. It comes ahead of the release of ARXX’s upcoming album of the same name, which is set for release on 31st March. Pre-order here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Rosie Powell

NEW TRACK: O Hell – ‘pixel’

A disarming, hypnotic offering that gently taps at the inside of the head, Brighton-based artist Lucy Sheehan aka O Hell has shared their latest single ‘pixel’. Laced with eerie, tentative piano sounds and Sheehan’s clear, yearning vocals, the track is an ominous piece of lo-fi electronica, accompanied by a video shot by Jay Bartlett Films.

After years spent touring and recording music in alternative bands around the UK, Sheehan ventured into fresh sonic territory under their new moniker O Hell back in 2021. Influenced by a love of eclectic, brooding soundscapes and a desire for creative independence, Sheehan was inspired by everything from Lithuanian folk songs to DJ Shadow and PJ Harvey when it came to creating her new sounds. Mined during a period of intense isolation, ‘pixel’ is another example of Sheehan’s ability to tap into uneasy states of consciousness with her ambigous, yet palpably familiar lyrics – “I dare to find your picture / run my hand across the pixels”

Speaking about the conception of the track, Sheehan explains: “I was at a studio way out in the Sussex Downs, and I started playing this fucked piano, completely out of tune. Anyway I didn’t know it was being recorded. I was in my own world. I showed my collaborator George, and as big fans of Amnesiac we decided to scramble it into this strange, surreal piece of electronica. Around the same time a friend of mine showed me this beautiful Lithuanian folk song called ‘Zalioj Girioj Stadalelis’ and I loved the sparse and haunting melodic structure. I remembered I don’t always have to write a chorus.”

“The softer, more surreal side of artists like PJ Harvey and Vincent Vocoder Voice were also big influences on ‘pixel’,” she continues. “I like visceral music, lyrics that are fragile, disgusting or painful. There has to be an emotional edge. I couldn’t give a fuck about friendly music.” This curation of unease is something Sheehan explored on her previous single, ‘I Watch The Women‘, and continues to explore sonically on ‘pixel’ too.

Watch the video for the new single below.

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Photo Credit: Bridie Florence Cummings

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut