If Bikini Kill and The Clash had a lovechild but it was raised by Courtney Love, the chances are great that Femegades would be that kid. Hailing from London, the UK-based group are a refreshing gulp of clean air within a sometimes overwhelming UK punk rock scene. Despite being relative newbies with a limited discography, the band has received critical acclaim from Analogue Trash, Havoc Underground and several online radio stations. Our introduction to the high-powered force is their debut EP Pornsick.
Using the ferocity of Pussy Riot, the brashness of Bikini Kill and the intimacy of Alanis Morissette, Femegades tackle issues of female sexuality in their debut EP Pornsick. Not necessarily a controversial release, but still quite outspoken about the “glossed over” stereotype of contemporary womanhood, the group make a forceful point with the teasingly tenacious tracks. Categorised as a female-focus punk rock group (although labelling is what they’re trying to avoid), Femegades fuse brusque punk lyricism and a pop-punk style with alternative rock undertones. Alright, so there are a lot of genres described here, but what is the core of Pornsick and Femegades?
A “pedal to the metal” from the first moment until the last, the EP is a conglomeration of pounding drums, powerful guitars and outstanding vocals. Beginning with the title track, the group slap you in the face with a high-paced melody and aggressive vocals; however, the “punk rockiness” seems to vanish giving way to bouncy pop-punk that will have you dancing around the room with a “bad girl” vibe. From a melodic perspective, my favourite track has to be ‘Safe Sex’ with the girl power-esque vibe or the heavier ‘World Turning’ ala Joan Jett. It’s really a tough call given the spectacular sonic experience on Pornsick.
While the flowing melodies on Pornsick will have you strutting around your bedroom, it is the tongue-in-cheek lyricism that encapsulates the perception of women in 2021. Insightful and highly reflective, Femegades traverse issues of “slut-shaming”, censorship, casual sexual relationships, rape, masculinity, femininity and stereotypical cynicism in contemporary society. It is true that the brusque and harsh vocals draw attention to the raw, painful honesty of the EP; however, there is a sense of empowerment and optimism in the songs. I really enjoy the final lyrics of ‘Leash’ where they clearly state the female “won’t die in her house”.