ALBUM REVIEW: Petrol Girls – Cut & Stitch (Hassle Records)

Feminist post-hardcore band Petrol Girls were formed in London in 2012 by vocalist Ren Aldridge and bassist Liepa Kuraitė, with Joe York and Zock Astpai joining later on guitar and drums respectively.

After a couple of EPs they released their debut album Talk Of Violence on Bomber Music in 2017, and it certainly made its mark, with standout track Touch Me Again rounding furiously on those who think it’s all right to sexually assault women.

Switching to Hassle Records (home to the likes of Cancer Bats and Senses Fail) they released another EP last year, and this is their first long-player for the label.

Petrol Girls are one of the best hardcore feminist bands around.

Aldridge says its title came from the process of cutting and stitching – “a patchwork of different sounds, ideas and feelings”, and reckons it is their most experimental work to date.

After a spoken word intro it roars into life with The Sound, while the raging Big Mouth sees them sample feminist icon Poly Styrene of X Ray Spex (“Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard – I think, up yours!”).

Petrol Girls are now based in Graz, Austria, and Bristol in the UK.

Aldridge’s voice switches effortlessly from spoken word to howling anger, with the riff-laden No Love For A Nation featuring both in the space of one song.

The singer says being vulnerable is just as radical as being angry, and she certainly displays vulnerability on Skye, where she grieves for her beloved dog, almost sighing: “You were there for half my life, the only half that I remember, my fingers left your coarse fur as you exhaled forever”.

Toxic masculinity and how hard it is for men to discuss their feelings is the subject of the angular, jagged Talk in Tongues, with York sharing vocal duties, while the fury returns on the penultimate Weather Warning, one of the best tracks on the album. 8/10.

Gary Welford owner