Punk rockers Petrol Girls deal in leaving no stone unturned, with no issue being too tough to sing about, as we know from 2016’s ‘Talk Of Violence’. Now, we arrive in 2019 with their second album, ‘Cut & Stitch’.
Opener, ‘The Sound’, has a Refused-esque build-up to strap us in before the explosion. This song serves as a statement of intent, with many others to follow. Ren Aldridge‘s shrieks are a powerful force to be reckoned with for sure, with Joe York‘s guitar work being angular but at the same time domineering, and yet it still gets better from there.
‘Big Mouth’ is an anthem with a nod to another one, X-Ray Spex‘s ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’. This song is one of many examples of the band’s blunt honesty, providing a scathing riposte of casual sexism that will surely resonate with many.
‘Monstrous’ shows a more personal side to them, which is overall honed in on a lot more compared to ‘Talk Of Violence’. Still, ‘No Love For A Nation’ may be the political anthem that we didn’t know we needed. An infectious chorus, vocal harmonies and interplay, and a kazoo rendition of ‘God Save The Queen’ is how to capture the state of a nation in 2019.
But, musically, Petrol Girls have also spread their wings further, and they’re not just about righteous fury. ‘Skye’ is a heartfelt number, showcasing Aldridge‘s seemingly effortless way with words.
‘Talk In Tongues’ offers more urgency again, but ‘Rootless’ is another clear highlight. Almost post-rock in its slow lumbering beat, this is where the lyricism comes to the fore again, and on this song in particular, Aldridge does what many try and fail; create detailed, illustrious imagery from the mundane, as well as perfectly capturing existential angst. The most key thing about this album is that you believe every word of it, and in no way is this a band jumping on a bandwagon of being political for the sake of it.
‘Naive’ continues to offer plenty of slogans, fighting back against cynicism and know-it-all pricks, and ends with the spoken-word “We’re not finished, we never fucking will be”, which just about sums up everything, relating to their music and to the eternal fight against injustice.
‘Cut & Stitch’ is a journey across many emotional and socio-political themes, and deserves to work wonders for Petrol Girls in the near future.