More about: M(h)aol
With their debut album Attachment Styles, Mhaol have accelerated the development of the punk scene and affirmed themselves as one of Ireland’s hottest emerging bands.
Recent years have shown Ireland to be the breeding ground for the new wave of punk music. Fontaines D.C. and The Murder Capital paved the way for the new Irish sound in the latter years of last decade, and bands like Sprints, Melts and Gilla Band have since permeated the UK’s music landscape.
Mhaol initially made a splash in the scene with the release of their debut EP, Gender Studies, which, turns out, was a menacing taster of what was to come. With feminism running through to its core, Attachment Styles is an abrasive and jagged record that puts the gender issues of today at its forefront.
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"pushes the boundaries of the punk scene Mhaol emerged from..."
Themes of misogyny, social connection and recovery are foregrounded throughout, speaking heavily to the band’s feminist stance - an outlook that runs through their music like a river. The frustration with the patriarchy is shown on tracks like ‘No-one Ever Talks To Us’ (“no-one ever talks to us unless they wanna fuck”) and ‘Bored Of Men’ (“Whose that guy/Whose right behind me/Is it a friend/Or an enemy?”) while the likes of ‘Period Sex’ - a provocative and infectious tune that plays like a dirtier version of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ - and the insistent ‘Femme’, portray a yearning for interpersonal connection.
The record’s musical consistency also pushes the boundaries of the punk scene Mhaol emerged from; the scratchy guitars on the sub-2-and-a-half-minute opener, ’Asking For It’ - possibly the best track on here - embody the album’s core sound, while its lyrics, which examine the unfading presence of rape culture, are as hard-hitting as it’s possible to be: “The law loves people who look like you” sings frontwoman, Róisín Nic Ghearailt as a chaotic wall of contorted sound groans behind her, evoking the confused state women are left in after a traumatic experience.
Similarly, ‘Bisexual Anxiety’ features a soundscape that mirrors its exploration of the confusion Ghearailt has faced around her own sexuality. “I’d love to be anything other/Than what I am” she sings as menacing instrumentation lurks beneath, evoking the feelings of unpredictability felt during times of personal inquisition.
"...[giving] the underground punk scene its biggest push in recent months"
Far from playing it safe, and in line with Mhaol’s previous releases, Attachment Styles adopts an experimental sound that steps into a kind of avant-garde punk; distorted guitars and serrated synths bend and crack with a sharp dexterity to create a truly engaging and otherworldly soundscape; one that asserts the identity of both this record and this group.
With Attachment Styles Mhaol have made their first serious mark on the Irish and UK alternative scene and, through their use of experimental styles and plain lyricism, have arguably given the underground punk scene its biggest push in recent months.
Attachment Styles arrives February 3rd.
Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.
More about: M(h)aol