It may come as a surprise to many, but there are bands not called Metallica releasing music this week. It will shock them further when they discover that it is yet another one of those protest groups that we apparently don’t have anymore. Petrol Girls describe themselves as feminist post-hardcore and quite frankly if they are willing to put that moniker on the internet and deal with the cuntery that will follow, then they deserve all the attention they can get.
A feeling that is made all the stronger by their debut album Talk of Violence. This is thirty minutes of pissed off punk rock which makes you want to go out and fuck the system. ‘False Peace’ kicks off with audio from a protest before diving into Petrol Girls’ brand of disjointed and abrasive hardcore. It leaves you with no doubt in your mind that this is a band with something to say and no qualms about putting it out there.
Where Petrol Girls excel is in taking what is in some ways quite simple music and twisting it enough that it doesn’t lose that spirit but at the same time gives you a new layer to explore. Take ‘Fang’ for example, which starts with a deliberate ramshackleness to it but its weird time signatures and challenging blasts take it beyond the classic punk formula.
Elsewhere, ‘Touch Me Again’ makes no attempt to hide its views behind a veneer of mystery. The repeated refrain of ‘it’s my body, my fucking choice’ is only overpowered by the closing statement of ‘touch me and I’ll fucking kill you’ which is eventually screamed by itself in angry defiance. ‘Restless’ is no less powerful as it declares that ‘to smash the state first smash the ceiling and revel in the broken glass.’
It’s not all aggression, though, and ‘Treading Water’ switches between those abrasive verses and a more melodic chorus. Providing a sea of calm on an album that generally isn’t interested in such things. There’s also a haunting play on Emma Goldman’s view on dancing during ‘Deflate’ that is certain to linger long in the mind.
Petrol Girls deserve to be shoved in the face of everyone that fails to get it. Whether that be a mainstream rock press that is crying out about a lack of protest bands or the kind of people that hold the views they stand against. This is a great combination of the simple and the complex. Big ideas stripped down and unleashed in angry punk rock form. Talk of Violence is a good album and worthy of taking your time away from the other big release today.