May 23, 2024

M(h)aol – ‘Attachment Styles’ – “angry and resolute album with a direct impact”

TULLE COLLECTIVE 3rd Feb 2023

A mighty angry and resolute album with a direct impact thanks, not only to the attitude, but to the fantastically simple recording. Jamie Hyland (guitar) recorded the album in one small room with no headphones, minimal drum mics, and only a PA for vocals. The result is proper punk – no flash, just message and sound. It reminds me of the in-your-face-ness of Poison Girls and Crass from the early eighties.

It’s a welcome set of sounds, opening with the furious ‘Asking For It’ and righteously angry from the start – “How much did I drink; was I asking for it?” Róisín Nic Ghearailt’s lyrics make it very clear that no-one is ever asking to be raped. There’s shouting and angry buzzy wasp guitar with post-punk sounds and punk fury. The album is full of simple drums, stabs of guitar, pointed lyrics. Roisin intones; “I’m so bored of talking about men – look at the news, is it that time again?” Next track has fuzzy double guitars and a steady, resigned but angry beat. A spoken manifesto of gender and sexual identities is delivered briefly. ‘Nice Guys (always finish last)’ ticks along uneventfully till a sonic barrage of whack, bang and burble at the end. This band has a strong sense of the demonstrative and will be a powerful stage presence.

Cowboy Honey’ wonders how they turned out this way and runs on the sound of ticking clockwork before strangely morphing into a soundalike of Pink Floyd’s early single, ‘Bike’! It’s playful, spiky, fun and well as powerfully self-possessed. I hear a joy in playing with sound as well as playing with concepts of identity. It doesn’t seem long before we reach the end with ‘Period Sex’ – viciously churning bass and drum rhythm allows a crashing top-end and forthright vocals, as well as a bit of breathy simulated sex (shades of Gainsbourg and Birkin).

I admire the committed focus and punk simplicity of the illustrative music. It’s entirely fresh and clears the dust off a sometimes stagnant scene.

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