Review: Kamikaze Girls- Seafoam (Big Scary Monsters/Wiretap)

Posted: June 11, 2017 in Reviews

I must admit that I have slept on this Leeds-based alt-punk duo (vocalist/guitarist Lucinda Livingstone and drummer Conor Dawson) for way too long. I heard their debut EP ‘Sad’ a couple of times, but couldn’t really get into it. None of the songs on it were more than say a 6/10, but I need to revisit, as every song on their first full-length Seafoam is absolutely knocked out of the park. Kamikaze Girls play heart-on-sleeve, fuzzy-but-poppy, grunge-y, brooding, punk rock.

Their dreamy atmospherics at times remind me of a punk-y Depeche Mode. There is a definite ‘80s synth-y influence on Seafoam, with reverb in tow and a space-y feeling throughout. “Teenage Feelings”, meanwhile, has a hell of a catchy, twee indie-pop chorus. At the same time, however, Kamikaze Girls also bleed Bikini Kill. Reflective and shoe-gaze-y in parts (“Good for Nothing”); pissed off with crunchy guitars and scream-y vocals in others (“KG Goes to the Pub”). It is this dichotomy that makes Seafoam work so well, where the straight-up, in-your-face punk-y ‘fuck-yous’ hit so much harder when it’s surrounded by dreamy contemplation. That is not to say there is anything ‘dreamy’ about the songwriting on Seafoam. Kamikaze Girls have produced a lean, mean feminist machine with something meaningful to say throughout; every word seems to count. Indeed, the aforementioned “KG Goes to the Pub” is the best example of this, with its pounding, raging noise coming off like early Nirvana material, injected with Riot grrrl politics, in which Lucinda tells a “fuck boy, sleaze bag” who keeps putting his hands on her waist that she is going to knock his “fucking lights out”.

The record is very much introspective, but that doesn’t stop Kamikaze Girls having their say on issues on social justice and cohesion, which couldn’t be more pertinent in this day and age (as they do fantastically on “I Don’t Want to be Sad Forever”). Nevertheless, the lyrics are very much heart-on-sleeve, self-deprecating and earnest, with Lucinda gives intimate insights into her everyday anxieties as “one of those nervous millenials” (“Deathcap”). The album is very visceral, dealing with Lucinda’s raw emotions, straight from the off- whether it’s “I think I’m having a heart attack” on “Berlin” or “This morning, I felt sick/ I threw up in the sink” on “Deathcap”. Meanwhile, the two songs which bookend the record (ok, well one of them is technically a bonus track, but whatever) are tied by the depiction of a real-life robbery at gun-point which deeply affected Lucinda’s mental state. Seafoam opens with these gut-punching lyrics:

“One young man put a gun to my head, held me down and took my possessions/ and ever since, what a state I’ve been/ Spent a year of my life doing nothing” (“One Young Man”)

The anxieties afflicting Lucinda are nakedly depicted throughout the album, allowing the listener to get a real sense of her emotional state. There is a particularly vulnerable moment at the end of “Anxiety” (that aforementioned bonus track), where Lucinda’s vocals cry out in pain: “Can’t deal with a man with a gun/ No, I cannot go back there”. This ties everything together thematically and highlights the continuing effects that this incident is having on Lucinda’s ability to function. A raw, deeply emotive album that everyone can resonate with; it also sounds fucking amazing. Very much recommended.

https://kamikazegirls.bandcamp.com/

DB

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