Given that punk has become so homogeneous lately it might as well be a fashion accessory by this point, it’s always refreshing to see a new band come out with a sound that fully captures what the genre was all about during its genesis over four decades ago. Some Thing, the new EP from East London’s Petrol Girls, fits that criteria well – it’s unrefined, acerbic and positively demands attention all the way through.
There’s no hint of polish on Some Thing – it’s Petrol Girls’ attempt at emulating the chaotic angularity of bands like At The Drive-In, and in the likes of opener Slug in particular, they certainly manage it. It’s in large part thanks to frontwoman Ren Aldridge’s histrionic-packed vocals, somersaulting between acerbic barks to sweet croons at the drop of a hat. All of this is carried out over an underlying shot of melody, as in the likes of Protagonist and the almost indie-shaded bonus track System.
It’s in the lyrical themes where everything begins to come together though, with the EP at various points addressing such hot-button issues (especially in the current sociopolitical climate) as mental health, feminism and the current anti-austerity movement. Any punk band worth its salt with something to say needs its finger on the pulse of current events, and on Some Thing, Petrol Girls show just how in touch with their punk roots they truly are. Having the elements of obtuse music and a heavily topical commentary at a disparity is one thing, but Petrol Girls dish out a potent fusion of the two, with often fantastic results.
Having said that, it must be noted that the same formula is largely slathered across each one of these songs, and it does get it bit tiresome near the end, especially thanks to the unending ferocity that the listener is subjected to throughout. But if Some Thing is Petrol Girl’s manifesto of what to expect from the future, then they’re certainly a band worth keeping an eye on. Because a new band that genuinely has something to say is a rare commodity, and the fact that we’ve got one as solid and forward-thinking as this is something that shouldn’t merely be ignored.
For fans of: At The Drive-In, Fucked Up, War On Women
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Some Thing’ by Petrol Girls is released on 19th February on Bomber Music.
Pre-order Petrol Girls’ Some Thing here: http://bombermusic.limitedrun.com/