Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Alien Chicks Keep Teasing Upcoming EP With the High-Octane ‘Qwerty’

There are interesting things happening with punk and its many offshoots, and Brixton trio Alien Chicks would prominently feature in a list of the artists behind this. 

Where others have chosen the path of contamination with other genres, from rap to folk, their twist has more to do with the overall mood of the finished product. 

We have long been used to punk being angry, biting, or rousing; Alien Chicks, on the other hand, have chosen to inject their music with a playfulness that is ever so slightly disconcerting at first, under the veneer of which lies a cutting irony that is the perfect contemporary counterpart of the original punk spirit. 

Their lyrically clever, often fast-paced output, striking a good balance of catchy and complex, is also a shoe-in for a live stage, and so it is not surprising that they have already managed to garner a strong grassroots reputation. With successful gigs under their belt including slots supporting English Teacher on tour – a band with a very similar worldview, if not necessarily a close match for sound – as well as their own headline shows, there is good reason to be excited for the upcoming release of their EP, ‘Indulging The Mobs’, which is slated to come out for Hideous Mink Records and SO Recordings in July 24.

A sneak peek into how the band’s energetic live sound comes through in the studio was already offered by the first single out of the EP, ‘Steve Buscemi’, released in April, which could have almost been framed as a manifesto of sorts for Alien Chicks – a fan favourite which was given a polishing for the studio version without losing any of its quirks, from its satirical stylings to its prominent rap influences. The newly released second single, ‘Qwerty’, now shifts things to a higher gear: an almost-frantic cavalcade of a song, with a rhythm that feels breakneck in places and an urgency that comes from the delivery style of the vocals (which feel, in the beginning, almost too-quick for the pace of the song, in a very deliberate way) as much as the music. 

The band’s love for the unexpected shines through in the composition here more than ever. The first few bars of the track are almost a fake-out, and a truly clever piece of music-writing, with the way in which they come across almost as a pop ballad, yet still convey the feeling that something is not quite right with it, before a punchy, dirty guitar riff breaks through and the track devolves into a delightfully chaotic heavy punk piece.  

Especially after that tone shift, there are some interesting associations that come to mind: due to both pace and vocal delivery, it’s hard in places not to think of Oingo Boingo, albeit with a sharper edge – the playfulness is the same, as is the use of snappy rhythm patterns. From the contemporary scene, this is a track that feels somewhat in the same vein as what artists like Lambrini GirlsShelf Lives, or even early HMLTD have been producing, although with some dirtier choices in terms of sound and with a strong ironic bent that is entirely the band’s own. There are places in which the guitar sound is so rough and full-bodied it feels almost borrowed from heavy metal, which creates an interesting contrast with the bouncy feeling of the track as a whole and infuses it with a disquiet that is almost haunting. The lyrics feed on the frustration arising from human interactions, and perhaps the greatest success of ‘Qwerty’ as a song lies in being a very effective representation of that frustration in music: if that feeling had a sound, it would be this. 

It is a fun track that leaves something deeper and darker lingering after it’s done, which is almost a summary of what Alien Chicks as a band are doing. As a second taster from the upcoming EP, it is enticing and a good show of range; as a track clearly written with live performance in mind, it more than holds its own. The Brixton scene succeeds in producing yet another band with an original, unique voice and a huge potential for creating something truly exciting.


Chiara Strazzulla


Image: ‘Indulging The Mobs’ Official EP Cover

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