“Guess I’ll never be the one to defeat desire in song,” sings John K Samson on ‘Benediction’, and it’s a lyric that is somewhat pertinent to the challenges facing Leeds Kamikaze Girls.
Yet it’s not desire that’s the challenge to be conquered by the Leeds duo on ‘Sad’, it’s anger. How do you express your emotion and reconcile it with a desire to make a positive change to the world around you without descending into crowd-pleasing rhetoric or cheap sloganeering? It’s here the vast majority of bands hit a wall. The anger may be right at the fore, but articulating it in a mature and forceful way is a stretch too far.
So shine a light on Kamikaze Girls. Sure, they’re angry – and they want to raise awareness of a number of important issues – but they have the skill to weave a narrative that doesn’t rely on clichés to get their point across. Instead they want you to sit down and take it all in, especially when they have a clear social message to go with the music.
‘Sad’, which aims to challenge stigma around mental health, is a powerful EP with a powerful message. That it frequently bristles with passion means you believe every word Lucinda Livingstone says. Topics such as anxiety (‘Hexes’) and addiction (‘Black Coffee’) are tackled with sensitivity and deftness, yet there’s still a steeliness to the delivery that makes you hang on every purposefully-delivered phrase.
The UK DIY scene has always been a strong haven for bands to discuss social issues and political topics, with the likes of Muncie Girls, Martha and Happy Accidents just a few to tackle a number of pertinent themes in recent months. Kamikaze Girls deserve to be held in the same regard as these peers for delivering an EP filled with rage and a desire to improve the world. Combined with a wonderful turn of phrase, it means ‘Sad’ is an honest and rewarding listen throughout.
’Sad’ by Kamikaze Girls is released on 2nd September on Bearded Punk Records and Wiretap Records.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)