The Julie Ruin Hit Reset Hardly Art
It’s tough to imagine what the landscape of guitar music would look like without the influence of riot-grrrl pioneer Kathleen Hanna. Leading by showing, not telling, and with help from her trademark ‘angry girl’ wail, she’s inspired countless female-identifying musicians to start their own bands. On The Julie Ruin’s second album, Hit Reset, Hanna is angrier than ever, and it’s a grownup fury.
While her vocals wire a terrifyingly mellowed outrage through a tougher, post-punkier sound, her lyrics are closer to Hanna’s bones and to the bravery that captured her fans than on 2013’s Run Fast. Alongside tongue-in-cheek stabs at fake male feminists (“Oops I snuck a kiss, come on it was just a joke”) there is painful, hopeful introspection (“Maybe I’m more hellbent on living than I am on just surviving”, “I’m done speaking through a shamed face”). Statements like these are just as relevant as ever – despite the all-white, middle class reputation 90s-era riot grrrl has garnered, Hanna is currently a gay, race, disabled and trans rights activist who is engaging on a meaningful level in 2016. It’s empowering and exciting to hear her progressive ideas being illustrated again in her signature squall, particularly so after her well-documented and exhausting battle with Lyme disease.
Of course, Hanna isn’t all of the Julie Ruin – the band have their own impressive musical and political credentials that are showcased on this album – but with Hit Reset, it’s Hanna that particularly proves that she is much less a nostalgic misfit with her eyes cast hopelessly backwards. She’s a living, breathing, relevant part of an inclusive movement that she herself helped start.