review by Caitlin Webb
Right down to their name’s sarcastic critique of gendered beauty standards and the diet industry, punk duo Skinny Girl Diet make a point of being brave and unapologetic about their beliefs. They’re individualists to the core, taking pride in their unsigned and underground identity and embracing experimental touches. Musically, this means that you never really know what to expect from their records, but their latest album Ideal Woman proves that a little adventure can always be welcomed.
Opening with a distorted guitar line packed with overdrive and bite, first track ‘La Sirena’ is defined by one word: confidence. It’s a real necessity for this track and its poetic tone that the performers believe in it with confidence, as they do throughout with their ceaseless punchy energy. Sultry vocals and a dark, grungey underbelly brilliantly play off the supernatural imagery. The image of the siren is perfect for the duo; powerful, vicious, independent of authority and only answering to the forces of nature. ‘Witch of the Waste’ isn’t dissimilar in its approach, with vocalist Delilah Holliday delivering soulful lines blended with howling ferocity in a worship of the kind of kickass irreverent lady that riot grrrls used to write songs for.
Skinny Girl Diet clearly know how to support sisterhood, being sisters themselves. Tracks like ‘Western Civilisation’ evoke this to a tee. The conceit of a mythological tale in the first verse is used to get you nodding along before narrowing down to personal tales of racial and gendered bias. Set against an classic rock-influenced guitar line modernised with even more overdrive and fuzz, the chorus highlights the dangers of not supporting fellow marginalised voices with the line “how we gonna change the world when we’ve got no-one?”. This frustration is channelled into the countercultural themes of ‘Outsider’, where Delilah quite literally screams her discontent in a thrashing hardcore punk style. Drummer Ursula Holliday sets a fierce pace on drums in a chorus made for moshing, while the Delilah’s voice brings you right into the action.
It’s noteworthy that despite the band only having two members, the tracks rarely feel lacking or empty of something. The opening notes of ‘White Man’, for example, ring out like an alarm, and self-empowerment anthem ‘Warrior Queens’ has enough power to fill a damn stadium. The former track’s chorus almost comes across like a purposeful football chant, telling the complexities of being a woman of colour in society as the lyrics switch between anger, empowerment and bitter unhappiness with the state of inequality felt by those facing both racial and gendered prejudice. The thought-provoking manner in which they tackle subjects like this marks Skinny Girl Diet out as not only killer musicians but thought-provoking activists; these songs are driven by real passion, taking any listener on board.
Grab it now direct from the band atskinnygirldiet.bigcartel.com