Petrol Girls: Cut and Stitch – LP review

Review by Caitlin Webb

Hard-rocking four piece Petrol Girls are some of the feminist rock scene’s biggest rising acts. They’ve spent the last year bringing their fierce hardcore style and lyrics of cathartic rage to new listeners across the continent on a plethora of tour dates, and all of this has given them the “patchwork of different sounds, ideas and feelings” that inspire their upcoming album Cut and Stitch.

As the title suggests, the album expands on their previous EPs and LPs to give a more angular and experimental style that does indeed sound like a quirky patchwork, but their fiery spirit has stayed very much the same. This is encapsulated in the intro, where a trippy and distorted background drone accompanies frontwoman Ren Aldridge’s ponderings on the music industry and even more existential concepts of creativity as a whole. It’s a clear signpost into a more experimental leaning for the record, which the rest of the interludes reflect. However, it still gives listeners a nice reminder of Petrol Girls’ sharp songwriting abilities and activist instincts, which leads us seamlessly into leadoff single ‘The Sound’. Drummer Zock Astpai’s transition expertly builds tension before dropping into the relentless single, where punky powerhouse riffs soundtrack Aldridge’s frank revelation of feeling unheard as a minority. As one of the bands’ biggest selling points has always been emotional honesty and intensity, this fits them perfectly. But as always, there’s no way for energy like this to go unheard; it demands to be taken seriously with any listener’s full attention.

In contrast with some of the songs on their previous album, Talk Of Violence, which seemed to capture the anger and bargaining stages of the grief and trauma process, a lot of this record’s songs are built on the idea that “sometimes being vulnerable is just as radical as being angry”, as Aldridge told us. This vulnerability is as unashamed as their anger is, from the insecurity turned pride in refusing to conform and assimilate that we see on ‘Monstrous’ to the struggle men face to express their emotions under expectations of toxic masculinity that are explored in ‘Talk In Tongues’. Both tracks prove the group’s commitment to activism in their music, not just through anger but through nuance. Their lyrics show a real struggle that’s matched by their stormy and tense playing, as well as by the pained screaming vocals; there’s a real passion to their entire sound with which the band implore listeners to join them in solidarity.

‘Cut & Stitch’ will be released on May 24th via Hassle Records, and will be available on 12” vinyl and CD. There are limited indie-exclusive and official store-exclusive vinyl colourways, plus a screenprinted sleeve version of the LP and a Rough Trade Edition written by Ren, both exclusive to Bandcamp.

PETROL GIRLS ON TOUR:
MAY
02 – SBAM Fest, Wels AT
04 – Ladyfuzz Fest, Brighton UK
05 – Handmade Fest, Leicester UK
05 – 0161 Fest, Manchester UK
09 – The Great Escape Fest, Brighton UK
22 – Anti-Fest, Antwerp BE
23 – Anti-Fest, Amesfoort NL
27 – Rough Trade Instore, Nottingham
28 – Rough Trade Instore, Bristol
29 – Rough Trade Instore, London East
31 – New Cross Inn, London(w/ War on Women)
JUN
01 – Hell Hath No Fury Fest, Manchester
03 – Autonomour Space, Glasgow(w/ War on Women)
04 – Red Rum, Stafford (w/ War on Women)
05 – The Cavern, Exeter (w/ War on Women)
07 – Magasin 4, Brussels BE (w/ War on Women)
09 – Booze Cruise, Hamburg DE
10 – Bei Chez Heinz, Hannover DE(w/ War on Women)
11 – Underdogs, Prague CR(w/ War on Women)
12 – Schlachthof, Wiesbaden DE(w/ War on Women)
13 – AJZ Bahndamm, Wermelskirchen DE(w/ War on Women)
14 – Jugendhaus West, Stuttgart DE(w/ War on Women)
15 – Gibus Club, Paris FR (w/ War on Women)
16 – Le Farmer, Lyon FR (w/ War on Women)
18 – Dynamo Werk 21, Zurich CH(w/ War on Women)
19 – EKH, Vienna AT(w/ War on Women)
20 – Kapu, Linz AT(w/ War on Women)
21 – Glockenbachwerkstatt(w/ War on Women)
22 – Bollwerk 107, Moers(w/ War on Women)
28 – Trabendo – Paris, France (w/ La Dispute)
29 – Carlswerk Victoria – Cologne, Germany (w/ La Dispute)
30 – Gorilla – Manchester, United Kingdom (w/ La Dispute)
JUL
01 – Saint Luke’s – Glasgow, United Kingdom (w/ La Dispute)
02 – Electric Brixton – London, United Kingdom (w/ La Dispute)
05 – Astra – Berlin – Berlin, Germany (w/ La Dispute)
07 – Conne Island – Leipzig, Germany (w/ La Dispute)
08 – Schlachthof – Wiesbaden, Germany (w/ La Dispute)
09 – Legend Club – Milan, Italy (w/ La Dispute)
11 – 2000Trees Festival, Cheltenham UK
13 – Kliko Fest, Haarlem, NL

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