Obviously the irony in that band name isn’t lost—there ain’t much about Lambrini Girls that’s light and fruity. That’s indelibly the point though, as a band currently making a lot of noise within the current wave of feminist punk, and leaving little room for misrepresentation. And while that line of copy can—and often will—be applied to literally any new band carrying a hint of buzz (just swap out the genre for whatever’s applicable and you’re there), Lambrini Girls don’t give off the vibe of a band content to just take their turn on the hype cycle. When actual, real-life punk legend Iggy Pop is in your corner—they’re his “favourite new band,” apparently—that’s a blessing that doesn’t just fade with time. It’s one you fight to keep up, and Lambrini Girls seem like totally capable fighters.
And thus, You’re Welcome arrives like a shot to leave a smoking crater in whatever basement or dive venue will have it. This is punk with a capital P-U-N-K, as no-nonsense as it comes and with fangs bared at all times. And honestly, the voracity that Lambrini Girls arrive with says a fair bit about where punk currently is as a larger genre, and how they’re already leaps and bounds ahead of so many when it comes to ethos and drive. Even among to those who’ll tout their ‘rawness’ and ‘realness’, You’re Welcome just bodies practically everything in its way, and delightfully, unapologetically so.
Because, at the end of the day, that’s what you want a punk band to be, right? Not a single punch is pulled; not a single target is left uneviscerated; Lambrini Girls have a level of efficiency and brutality that’s up there with the best. It’s most reminiscent of Petrol Girls in the feral thought behind it, and an execution built off pure aggression. Just take the opener Boys In The Band, where you get the sense that Phoebe Lunny isn’t so much taking aim at abusive men in the industry given a free pass to continue undeterred, as much as leaping out to rip their heads and balls off herself. It’s the same with transphobes on Terf Wars or hypermasculine bigots on Lads Lads Lads; the warpath is littered with targets that Lunny seems ready and able to dismember all on her own.
But on top of all that, it’s just funny as well. The number of quotables and one-liners packed into You’re Welcome is a marvel in itself, as yet another example of Lambrini Girls going the extra mile. This isn’t a new phenomenon, especially for similar bands in punk, but there’s barely a second here that feels disengaging, or that it’s flagging from wit that doesn’t land. The piss-and-vinegar spirit definitely helps for a song like Terf Wars, or how a song like Help Me I’m Gay is smeared in its own sarcasm and frustration at everything in its vicinity. ‘Smart’ writing might be a misnomer, but there’s wit here by the truckload, and Lambrini Girls completely own it. It’s a more consolidated version of what you might get from a band like Idles, and way less likely to become tangled in an increasingly self-important web of references as a result.
Perhaps Idles isn’t the most salient comparison point though. After all, they feel on a different punk wavelength entirely to Lambrini Girls, more about the dissection than the destruction. And hey, both are valid approaches depending on your mood, but there’s always going to be the edge given to a band who know how to just blow you backwards with pure sound and fury. And lo and behold, here’s Lambrini Girls, sonically massive and mixed in a way to accentuate just how bludgeoning they can be. The bass is the key element in that, where it’ll be consistently thrumming away on a song like Boys In The Band, but see its moment to break further into the foreground and shepherd something more chaotic. There’s always room for that on You’re Welcome, be that in the more angular riff driving White Van, or how Mr Lovebomb acts as a seamless inroad into motorik post-punk without diluting any of the truly formidable guitar muscle. And of course, as a ‘proper’ punk release, it’s refreshingly light on over-polish, though it’s worth highlighting how great it sounds because of that. There truly feels as though there’s nothing railroading Lambrini Girls into place; the live mood is so potent and pertinent throughout, and only lifts the EP even higher.
As such, there are really no complaints to be had. Especially as a debut, You’re Welcome is a force to be reckoned with, stamping in Lambrini Girls’ name with the force of a hydraulic press, and putting forward a real gem of a band within the current punk scene. Already there’s a perfect amount of force, creative cohesion and throttling intensity working in tandem, and the pretty brief runtime ends up remarkably dense because of it. Arguably that kind of blitzed-out punk throwdown is the best course of action to take for something like this, and Lambrini Girls’ evidence for that couldn’t be more definitive. This is the standard for new punk bands going forward, for basically every conceivable part.
For fans of: Petrol Girls, Loose Articles, Witch Fever
‘You’re Welcome’ by Lambrini Girls is released on 19th May on Big Scary Monsters.
Words by Luke Nuttall