It’s a good moment we’re living in, where sexism and misogynistic behaviour are much more likely to get called out now than they would have been in the past. But that doesn’t mean they don’t still happen – and thankfully Oxford hardcore punks Basic Dicks are here to shine a witty, caustic light on them. Privilege, entitlement, indignation, the male gaze and mansplaining all come under heavy fire from dual vocalist sisters Taz and Loz on the band’s visceral new EP Dick Tape, which has just come out on Everything Sucks.
Given that the band bill themselves as vegan feminist punks, you could be forgiven for thinking that opener ‘Gone Off Steak’ is about their vegan ethics, but the lyrics reveal a much richer and darker theme. The song actually addresses Brock Turner, the Stanford student who raped a girl he found lying unconscious outside a bar after a night out, and the title refers to a grisly detail from the tone deaf letter his father wrote to adjudicators, that facing up to the consequences for his reprehensible actions had caused Brock to go off steak – pleading for pity because of a spoiled appetite. It’s a roaring invective against male entitlement, privilege and an appeal for what should be built-in human behaviour, ‘hey Brock, what the fuck? If a girl falls, pick her up.”
Next up is ‘White Cock’, a blistering sub 1-minute blast against the kinds of people who tell offensive jokes, then wonder why you don’t find sexism as funny as they do. ‘Slap’ argues that women should be able to wear as much makeup as they want, without caring what anyone else thinks about it. ‘New poll—it’s official, men prefer the natural look / Super-duper fucking sorry, man, I couldn’t give a fuck’.
‘Giant Potato’ is the brilliantly named outlier here – drawing the focus away from feminism to retell the bizarre tale of the time Brian Harvey from East 17 ate too many jacket potatoes and accidentally ran himself over. The final track though is back on theme with another great track name ‘I Am Man, Hear Me Bore’, which targets pathetic mansplainers who get upset and indignant when their sexist behaviour is pointed out to them, as Taz and Loz shout ‘Oh, boo-hoo, it’s so unfair / Guess what, treacle? No-one cares’.
The whole thing clocks in at just under nine minutes, but the result is a roaring castigation of all kinds of male privilege and entitled behaviour. The dual vocals are great – Loz has a wobbly, off-kilter style that perfectly complements Taz’s throaty growl, and the way they almost seem to battle one another gives everything an enjoyably chaotic feel. And while the lyrics have exactly the kind of punch and acerbic wit that’s guaranteed to cause misogynists to go into a bit of a meltdown, they also have an endearing quality – using expressions like ‘super-duper’ and calling people ‘treacle’.
The vocals are anchored by a killer rhythm section that’s all muscle – particularly on the stomping, swaggering ‘Slap’, and while you could hardly call the guitar work minimal given how loud it is, it’s clear that guitarist Robbie has a great understanding for the value of impact and economy. No riff is ever more complicated than it absolutely needs to be. It’s a record that perfectly captures the spirit of a basement show – the production is surely to thank for that – and it’s guaranteed to incense anyone who gets upset that the #MeToo movement gets too much attention – which is exactly the point isn’t it?
Basic Dicks – Dick Tape EP is out now on Everything Sucks. It’s on a limited bronze cassette and is available digitally on Bandcamp.