by Tim Birkbeck
The term “sad music” is one which gets thrown around quite a lot and can sometimes send off a negative message. But what if a band were to embrace that emotion and flip it on its head, telling the listener “it’s ok to be sad sometimes.”?
Enter Leeds duo Kamikaze Girls.
After the critically acclaimed Sad EP, the pairing has made an impact on the UK scene with their fuzzy guitars, rhythmic drums and sincere lyrics. The band’s debut full-length Seafoam carries on this ethos, and to devastating effect.
Within the first two tracks you know exactly what Kamikaze Girls are about, with lyrics like “Spending a year of my life doing nothing” in ‘One Young Man’ and “I stood to the back of the venue and I worried about my mental health” in ‘Berlin’, two examples of how ‘heart on the sleeve’ this duo actually are. For vocalist and guitarist Lucinda Livingstone her lyrics speak honestly and openly about her experiences with everything from anxiety and depression to addiction.
But Seafoam is in no means a bleak, doom and gloom record, quite the contrary. The record explores the band’s – completed by drummer Conor Dawson – wider musical influences from shoegaze, fuzz-pop and the heavier side of the genre-spectrum they call home, and can switch in an instant. From the punchy ‘Deathcap’, which almost has a summer-time vibe, to the heavier and darker, ‘Good For Nothing’ showing that Kamikaze Girls can deliver on a variety of levels.
The raging female-empowerment anthem of ‘KG Goes To The Pub’ is perhaps the best illustration of the grittier, leaner sounds of the new record, as Livingstone spits with admirable and enviable vehemence: “Fuckboy sleaze bag, what do you want from me now? Grab my waist one more time and I’ll knock your fucking lights out.”
From start to finish the record is a bit of a roller coaster through Livingstone’s life, which some may find a little self-indulgent, but if you actually take the time to listen to what she is saying then the pieces of the puzzle all start falling into place.
For me personally, Kamikaze Girls was a band which I had slept on for a long-time, after hearing Seafoam it was a decision I really regret – rare as it is to find a band who will put everything on the line and say “it’s ok to do this.”
Since their formation in 2014 the two-piece has used music as a means to challenge attitudes and taboos surrounding mental health. Their aim has always been to show their strength and solidarity to other young people in the same position, and to work alongside other bands in the scene to help stamp out gender stereotypes in music for good.
And from listening to Seafoam, they are certainly on the right path to making sure these issue do become a thing of the past.
Seafoam in out on June 9 via Big Scary Monsters.