By Rosie Accola
The perceived bravado of rock and roll is legendary.
It is a world where exalted states reign supreme, not the sort of musical niche that invites introspection or thoughtfulness. With their latest E.P., Sad, U.K-based Kamikaze Girls are letting listeners know that, contrary to the rock ’n’ roll mythos, it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
As a duo Lucinda Livingstone (vocals/ guitar) and Connor Dawson (drums), intend to, “[use music] as a means to challenge attitudes and taboos surrounding mental health.” This record delves fearlessly into the realms of emotional dualism, examining one’s ability to be simultaneously happy and sad through lyrical and sonic means.
On “Black Coffee” Livingstone growls, “Without you I'd sleep forever, without you I'd sleep / You made my bloodshot eyes no longer / Look like red decay” while Dawson bolsters her with a tumultuous drumbeat that begs for a mosh pit and a basement show. This duality — bloodshot tired eyes and a rabbit-heart pounding after one two many double shots is perfectly encapsulated throughout the E.P. Kamikaze Girls are kinetic, they exist in motion while understanding that life is complicated — so much so that it doesn’t always allow one to stop and think.
Vocalist Lucinda Livingston’s voice often careens into a scream as she sings. Her ruthless growl aches with sincerity, it calls forth comparisons to fellow hardcore queen and champion of vulnerability, Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves.
As a writer, Livingstone is brutally honest. She details her emotional downswings, headaches, and distaste for funerals with candor and a healthy amount of rage.
The E.P.’s lead single, “Ladyfuzz” details reliving an overdose as Livingstone concedes, “You can leave me in the dead of night/ if that’s what you need to do.” The video was shot in Livingstone’s childhood bedroom, with bookshelves and beat up records still intact and drenched in an atmospheric blue light. Visually, the video calls forth the aimless and vaporous nature of sadness, how it seems able to fill a room without being seen invading the spaces that are supposed to be most comfortable — a bedroom or a hometown.
As Livingstone explains in a press release, “It still looks just like it was when I left it. Loads of old band merch, a LOT of Michael Jackson memorabilia, records and a bunch of stuff that I can't really have with me at the moment. With Conor knowing the meaning behind the song - and obviously standing by me as a friend when I wasn't well at the time - we kind of just wanted to tell it how it was. Not the happiest of songs, or videos, but it is what it is.”
Telling it like it is seems to be an integral part of Kamikaze Girl’s mission as a band. In addition to being the titular lead single, “Lady Fuzz” is also the name of a ‘zine that Livingstone curates which aims to celebrate female artists and musicians. The idea that one can reclaim their experiences and turn them into something positive is fantastic. Kamikaze Girls proves that there’s no need to obliterate one’s own sadness, it is what it is.
Kamikaze Girls is currently touring throughout the U.K. with fellow Hooligan contributors, The Winter Passing. See them at any one of the dates below.
21st September – The Cavern – Exeter, UK
23rd September - DIY Space for London – London, UK
24th September - The Key Club – Leeds, UK
26th September – The Bannerman – Edinburgh, UK
1st October - Southsea Fest – Portsmouth, UK
“Sad” will be available September 2nd through Wiretap Records (US) and Bearded Punk Records (U.K.)