ALBUM: Petrol Girls – ‘Baby’

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

Follow Petrol Girls on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Hanna Fasching

Sarah Bennett
@sarah_benn3tt (Twitter)
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Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: Petrol Girls – ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion’

Having received acclaim from the likes of Kerrang!, The New York Times and BBC 6Music, for pertinent, powerful offerings such as ‘Touch Me Again’ and ‘No Love For A Nation’, GIHE faves Petrol Girls have now shared a colossal new single.

Highlighting the truth that everyone should have access to an abortion, without shame, ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion‘ oozes a brutal, unapologetic honesty, propelled by the gritty, seething force of Ren Aldridge’s vocals. A no holds barred attack on the pressures on those with a womb to procreate, and the shame they are made to feel for terminating unwanted pregnancies, the track races with a swirling, frenzied energy as the fiercely impassioned refrains of “Shame Shame Shame!” and “Baby, I had an aborition and I’M NOT SORRY!” blast out with a commanding sense of urgency.

An immense, empowering statement reflecting on Aldridge’s own experiences of having an abortion in 2018 (having found out she was pregnant the morning that the Eighth Amendment was repealed in Ireland), ‘Baby, I Had An Abortion’ offers a poignant ode to bodily autonomy. A raging cacophony fuelled by a riotous catharsis that emits both joy and anger; urging us to fight against the confines of this damaging patriarchal society and heinous pro-life laws, whilst also recognising that abortions – although often traumatic – can come with a sense of relief and happiness, and our access to them is something to be celebrated.

Of the track, Aldridge explains:

(‘Baby, I Had Abortion’) is first and foremost intended for upsetting pro-lifers on demonstrations. The ‘Shame Shame Shame’ lyric is totally a Game of Thrones reference, and the whole idea is intended to ridicule pro-lifers’ attempts to shame us for exercising our bodily autonomy. I wanted the song to have party vibes because I feel like abortion… can be something to celebrate. I wanted to put something joyful about abortion out into the world.

Petrol Girls will be raising money for Abortion Without Borders with this release. They’re a network of organisations that fund and support people in Poland to access abortion in neighbouring countries or at home with pills. Abortion laws were further tightened in Poland last year making it only legal in extremely limited circumstances.

Catch the incredible force of Petrol Girls live on their run of UK dates next month. Tickets and info here.

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: Martyna Wisniewska

Track Of The Day: Dott – ‘Like A Girl’

Activism and garage-pop collide in anthemic style on Dott‘s latest track ‘Like A Girl’. The Galway-based band have released the song ahead of Ireland’s vote to Repeal the 8th Amendment on May 25th – a vote which would give Irish women access to full reproductive health services, including abortion.

“It has always bothered me when people say that doing something ‘Like a Girl’ means they did it weakly or substandard,” guitarist & vocalist Anna explains about the track. “To put this out-dated notion to bed, I wrote this song to remind people that doing something ‘Like a Girl’ means it will be powerful and no shit will be taken.”

“It’s especially relevant in Ireland at the moment with the fast approaching Referendum on Reproductive Rights. Irish women and girls have spent years fighting for their reproductive rights, demanding a referendum to change archaic and unsafe Irish Law. And now we are a matter of weeks away from the referendum finally happening, all because of the fierce and tireless work of the women’s groups of Ireland. So, what I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to do something important, you’d better hope that everyone says you did it ‘Like a Girl.'”

The band’s new song features a guest appearance from Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz on guitar and the accompanying video features members from Galway Pro Choice, Galway Parents for Choice, and Galway Roller Derby, as well as footage of recent marches for Women’s Rights in Galway. We’re totally behind everything that ‘Like a Girl’ stands for.

Listen to the track below.

Sign the petition to Repeal the 8th Amendment here.

Follow Dott on Facebook for more updates.

Dott’s sophomore album Heart Swell is set to be released on Graceface Records on 8th June.

Kate Crudgington