Petrol Girls – ‘The Future Is Dark’

By Tom Walsh

Intense yet tender. Confrontational yet vulnerable. Despairing but optimistic. Forever relevant. Forever fighting. Forever defiant.

Petrol Girls’ first material in over two years is already the most relevant record of 2018. ‘The Future Is Dark’ EP is three blasts of pent-up fury that rips open stitches on once-closed wounds. There is no fear colliding head on with once hushed subjects – sexual violence, misogyny and political activism.

Raging with a raw immediacy, this record grabs you by the throat and forces you to face the issues we were once too afraid to speak out about. Vocalist Ren Aldridge’s opens ‘Survivor’ with the guttural scream of “I’m not a victim/I will survive” which leads into a chaotic, powerful track. It’s an incredibly frank three minutes as Aldridge emphatically pushes the listener into the mind of sexual assault victim. Despite its graphic lyrics, it delivers a message of defiance and hope.

Likewise, ‘Sister’ carries with it a deeply personal sentiment for Aldridge. It emphasises the incredible bond between female friends and how together they can break down the barriers of a misogynistic world. The track swings between the raging anthemic chorus and a broken down midsection where Aldridge’s soprano tones float over the intricate guitar work of Joe York. Aldridge continues to lament “I would be lost without sisters”, as she promotes the “truest friendships” in an almost manifesto-like performance.

In the middle of closing track ‘Strike’, Aldridge asks “are you ready to storm the Winter Palace?”, as an anarchistic call to arms thrashes away. This is the angry voice you want in your head as you aim to topple the walls of governments that don’t have your interests at heart. The raw emotion that drips off every word carries with it a sense of striving to make things better.

With ‘The Future Is Dark’, Petrol Girls continue to demonstrate their ability to perfectly tackle the most important issues in our society. It is an intense three-track EP, but one that delivers a message of hope through the darkness.

Things can better, we’ll make sure things get better. As Aldridge screams “it is my anger that kept me alive.” Forever fighting. Forever defiant.

TOM WALSH

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