By – Kristi Houk
References to rape culture and sexual assault; You know, what women and those who identify as women have been dealing with since the dawn of time. Will this shit ever get better?
Prepared to be pissed off and ready to burn down the patriarchy after listening to M(h)aol’s (pronounced “male”) debut release, Attachment Styles. It’s no surprise that the band is Irish, I have mostly Irish blood in me and am always down for taking it to the streets and fighting for what is just and railing against injustice. (the injustices in this case being the male gaze, rape culture, and the acceptance of sexual fluidity). Just ask my Station Manager!!! When I walked in this morning, I was ready to punch him straight in the dick but then remembered he is actually more of a feminist than I am.
Title track, “Asking for It” begins with a throbbing bass line that infuses scratchy, sporadic guitar jabs as the song progresses and gets angrier. Vocalist, Roisin Nic Ghearaitt confronts her attacker in the most spine chilling way I’ve ever heard. The refrain “Was I asking for it?” carries the song until the middle mark when she hurls a defiant reply, NO! and all hell breaks loose (musically). It’s collective trauma catharsis. I am not here to break down the ins and outs of feminism—I’m ready for lasting change. Ghearaitt’s most empowered lyric in the song is “My whole life won’t be defined by you.” That’s an anthem for survivors everywhere.
It’s hard to top “Asking for It” but elsewhere on the album we’re cold cocked with the same fierceness as the beginning. On “Bored of Men” I am reminded of The Clash classic, “I’m So Bored with the USA.” Coincidence? Strummer sings “I’m so bored with the USA/but what can I do?” On “Bored of Men,” I see this lyric as Ghearaitt echoing Strummer’s sentiment 46 years later, “We can make all the effort and do all the change/But I still don’t know what to do in this masculine age.”
Sometimes we (meaning women identifying) don’t always want to be the bigger person. It’s exhausting. So fuck you and the horse you rode in on. To quote Ghearaitt, “When is our chance to move on and heal. I can’t believe that this shit is real.”
I fear this record won’t reach as many people as it should and that’s a shame. It’s bold and uncomfortable and unfortunately that’s not palatable in our current society. You can be edgy but not too edgy. I believe we need this record now more than ever.
Written by: kristi houk
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