Petrol Girls Baby Hassle Records
Petrol Girls’ politically-fuelled rage has always been pertinent. Since their arrival in 2014, the London band have sung (or screamed) through it all: Tory-enforced austerity, the reckoning with worldwide sexual abuse, the dawn of our new culture wars. New album Baby builds on the urgency that underpins their punk and post-hardcore fury, all set to the overstimulated, mind-melting backdrop of modern-day goings-on.
Baby opens with Scraps’ 28 seconds of unsettling noise, before Preachers reveals the more spirited sonic range of the album. Taking in angular post-punk riffs and pop-leaning power chords, the song finds vocalist Ren Aldridge taking apart cancel culture’s air of sanctimony, delivering her lyrics with a snarling bite: “Forget all the nuance/ ‘Cause we’re fluent in carceral logic.” Feed My Fire further highlights the four-piece’s taste for experimentation, as disco-punk grooves propel their fierce musings on performativity in the political punk scene. Delivered with mischievous glee, it offers a levity unlike anything else in Petrol Girls’ back catalogue – and they undoubtedly pull it off.
This careful balance between playfulness and sincerity defines Baby. From the timely pro-choice anthem Baby, I Had An Abortion to the industrial grit of femicide protest track Fight for Our Lives, Petrol Girls are resolute in their convictions. And though it’s an album you can dance to, the gravity of its message remains startlingly serious: we must fight for a better future, in spite of the bleakness of it all.