M(h)aol – Attachment Styles
A common criticism levelled against Riot Grrrl music is that it is too direct, both in terms of the content and musical structure. The music came second to the message. Mute the mics and you could be listening to ‘70s chauvinists hopped up on amphetamines. M(h)aol’s debut album, Attachment Styles, ruptures feminist punk from Riot Grrrl.
Photo: Naomi Williams
The album is bookended by two immensely powerful songs. Opener ‘Asking for It’ is a terrifying combination of surprisingly dancey drums, a bass line that would make Dave Allen proud and a guitar sound which is the closest thing to a squeaky balloon that I’ve ever heard in a song, building to an atom-split climax. I wonder how many tiny hat, thin moustache men tune out Róisín Nic Ghearailt’s frighteningly frank monologue on rape in order to enjoy this tune. Closer ‘Period Sex’ is a sultry, groovy number, a no-wave ‘Je t’aime moi non plus’, reminding us to show love every day of the month. While the first track details horrific depictions of having your autonomy shattered, the final is an ode to the messy fun of owning your sexuality.
Attachment Styles is an unrelenting dissection of rape culture, from the casual misogyny of ‘Nice Guys’, to the erasure that occurs within both straight and queer circles in ‘Bisexual Anxiety’, but then breaks it up with an ode to a punk dog. This is the future of Riot Grrrl; queer, messy and so much better than three chords and the truth. Elle Kelleher