Random Records with Steve O
Petrol Girls - Talk of ViolenceSteve O - February 25, 2017
So here’s a record that probably should’ve ended up on our end of the year bracket. It’s the day after Christmas, and I’m sitting on the couch in my parents' living room. We’re meeting up to vote on the bracket later that day, so I should be finalizing my list. Instead, I randomly remember this band that I’d been hearing about were supposed to have a record coming out that I wanted to listen to. And so, I play Petrol Girls’ “Restless,” with its bombastic opening line of, “I’ll give you motherfuckers restless.” There’s no turning back now. I’m listening to the whole record in the living room. Sorry, Mom. Bad timing?
Petrol Girls’ Talk of Violence is largely a full-frontal, blazing hardcore attack, with enough melodic noodling and breaks in the pace to make that post- prefix feel appropriate (still don’t get why/how that’s a thing). Lyrically, it’s basically all radical gender politics and feminism. No matter how deep your head is in the ground, you can’t miss it. And it’s fucking awesome. Album opener “False Peace” proudly proclaims that: “We will disturb the false peace / Expose the violence that they / Teach in the way that they designate gender / Code our expression and sexual behavior / We're not a binary.” Along with the aforementioned “Restless” and the explosive “Touch Me Again,” these three songs not only bring the hammer down musically, they are blatant in their feminism. “Touch Me Again" is particularly brilliant. A line like “My liberty my body as the base of my autonomy,” just seems like such a definitive statement. And listen to the end of the song where all the music drops out, the intensity and emotion are simply harrowing. “Treading Water” has all sorts of fun dynamics, with some clean vocals. “Deflate” also has a similar vibe, while “Fang” has more of a rock and roll vibe at times.
Petrol Girls was a name I had seen mentioned around and they had two short EPs before this that are both pretty great. Because of that they were a name I was keeping tabs on, but I’d forget to check in regularly to see what was happening. Which is why a record released in mid-November only made it onto my radar around Christmas, and I’m only telling you how awesome it is right now in late February. Long story short, if you dig War on Women, you’re going to dig this too. Petrol Girls is like London’s answer to Baltimore’s hardcore feminists, and if that’s your thing, you’ll totally be into Talk of Violence. Head over to their bandcamp to give it a listen.