Kamikaze Girls – ‘Seafoam’

By Matthew Wilson

Music has a power to reach right to your emotional core, vibrations that resonate with you in a way no other art can. On ‘Seafoam’, Leeds punks Kamikaze Girls reach right for your heartstrings. The duo of singer/guitarist Lucinda Livingstone and drummer Connor Dawson last year released ‘Sad’, an EP birthed from the feelings ricocheting around inside Livingstone’s head. The result was a cathartic release of anxious PTSD, soundtracked by slamming drums and crushing riffs. With ‘Seafoam’, Kamikaze Girls are reaching outwards, resulting in an emotional, warm and heart-wrenchingly honest debut.

‘Seafoam’ still deals with the fallout of living with mental health, but beyond what’s in Livingstone’s head, there’s a righteous anger and indignation directed at people and places. ‘One Young Man’ sets the tone of the album, Livingstone spilling her guts out about being traumatically robbed at gunpoint by an armed assailant. The world has been stacked against them, so they fight back. Claustrophobic lead single ‘Berlin’ re-imagines London as a “city with no soul”, a dark guitar tone matching the gloom that surrounds the UK, separated from friends and left with lying leaders.

Yet even as Kamikaze Girls go for the jugular, there’s something warmly inclusive about the music they’ve made. ‘Lights And Sounds’ has a huge, reverb-heavy soundscape that sounds like it would fit comfortably on an Oasis record. ‘Good For Nothing’ is melodramatically comforting catharsis, tempering self-hatred with tongue in cheek references to wearing black “like Robert Smith in ‘84”.

‘Seafoam’ is so inviting is because of just how damn good this record sounds. Between producer Bob Cooper’s expertise at crafting powerful tones, Dawson’s rock solid, metronomic beats and Livingstone’s passion for weird pedals, they’ve managed to create a set of dynamically wild soundscapes that wash all across this album, dripping through your headphones drenched in fuzzy reverb and deep choruses that draw you in. It means that even ‘Weaker Than,’ an immensely personal account of the aftermath of a suicide attempt, becomes a soaring therapy session that you feel privileged to be a part of.

‘Seafoam’ is an album that wants to draw you in. It’s a journey about coming together, the high point being ‘KG Go To The Pub,’ a relentless surgical strike against misogynistic experiences endured on nights out by drunken scabs. Screaming “grab my waist one more time, I’ll knock your fucking lights out!,” they’re joined on the final chorus by Ren Aldridge from Petrol Girls, individual defiance becoming a beacon of solidarity for anyone who’s experienced unwanted attention. Revulsion becomes a rallying call. As the album closes with ‘I Don’t Want To Be Sad,’ this message is summed up simply as “we need to fix this together, we need to fix this now.”

Kamikaze Girls are just two pals who have worked together to try and make things better: better for themselves, better for the people around them. With the personal passing references to other friends, musicians, places and people, there’s an understanding of just how important the DIY scene has become in providing an outlet to all of those suffering from the real-world aftershocks of our increasingly chaotic society. This is an album that wasn’t just created in a vacuum, but was birthed out of tragedy, recovery, solidarity, compassion, companionship and the long struggle of clawing yourself, inch by inch, towards making your dreams a reality. And it’s a triumph.

MATTHEW WILSON

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