PREMIERE: Petrol Girls Fight the Power with “Big Mouth”
The British feminist post-hardcore punk band brings #MeToo to the UK music industry with their latest track.
Petrol Girls have always made it clear that there is a very defined and focused message in their music.
For “Big Mouth”—the second track shared from the band’s forthcoming full-length, Cut & Stitch, due out May 24—that message is taking the resistance not just to the streets, but to the courts.
“Thematically, this track follows on from our previous single, ‘The Sound,’ but focuses in on voice as a physical sound that comes directly from our bodies, and also more generally as self-expression,” explains the band’s singer, Ren Aldridge. “There are a lot of politics around who is heard and what that means, and many marginalized groups are only tolerated when they’re quiet. When they refuse this containment and control, they’re met with attempts to silence them.”
Petrol Girls are using this song as a platform to empower women fighting back against a very specific case of music industry misogyny that’s turned litigious.
“A perfect example of this is the defamation case which aims to silence the Solidarity Not Silence girls—a group of women who each separately spoke out against the behavior of a man in the music industry,” Aldridge shares. “Whilst the case is ongoing, we are limited in what we can say about it, but encourage everyone to spread the word and donate to the crowdfunding campaign for their legal costs. They are determined to not allow their case to set a precedent for silencing marginalized voices in the music industry and beyond. There’s no legal aid for this kind of case—they need money to pay for their legal representation in order to pursue justice.”
The group has stepped up by promoting a merch line on Bandcamp to support the women, including a “Solidarity Not Silence” shirt as worn by guitarist Joe York in the “Big Mouth” video.
“We’re so grateful to have been given permission to include the sample of Poly Styrene’s voice from the iconic intro to X-Ray Spex’s ‘Oh Bondage! Up Yours!’” Aldridge gushes. “Her words, recorded in the late ’70s, still resonate and inspire resistance today.”
In the music video, Petrol Girls walk it like they talk by literally making room for additional voices in the music mix.
“This song is massively influenced by a series of interviews I did on the topic of voice with various vocalists, including Chi Chi, who appears in the video, and Jacob V. Joyce, who also helped to write the chorus lyrics,” Aldridge details. “For the video, we removed my recorded vocals from the breakdown to make space for other people’s voices. This is a tactic we’ve been developing for a while now, which aims to push this classic punk/hardcore gesture of passing the mic as far as we can.”
Watch “Big Mouth” below.