When confronted with a cartoon of a burning turd on a release’s artwork, there’s a hint that you might be about to encounter something with a lack of subtlety. When it comes to Brighton’s Lambrini Girls, “a lack of subtlety” only really scratches the surface when it comes to describing a fantastic musical assault. On their 2023 EP ‘You’re Welcome’, their mix of anger, social commentary and musical punch is so needed that such absolute directness is vital.
The lead track ‘Boys In The Band’ isn’t shy in calling back to the riot grrrl stance of classic Bikini Kill with its ferocious vocal and layers of distortion, but it’s not just a complete throwback. Granted, fans of the style will feel massive pangs of nostalgia through the fuzzy noise, but there’s also a more modern feel in the way that the chorus hooks hit with the repetitious relentlessness of a couple of Wet Leg classics. The lyrics deal with social issues ranging from separation of art and artist, to thoughts of feeling inferior, but with music served with a lo-fi post-punk edge and driven by a fantastic drum part where cymbals add a defiant groove to the verse and a massive, crashy recklessness, the music is just as sharp. The juxtaposition of thoughtful message and careening riffs creates an instant indie-punk classic. ‘Terf Wars’ injects some brilliant grinding into the punk noise, and amps the drums even further. The tight cymbal work beneath the distorted bass and shouting suggests that as much thought has gone into the musical arrangements as the lyrical content, and when rallying against transphobes, those who think gender neutral toilets are a problem, and championing safe spaces for all, Lambrini Girls become a mouthpiece for those with sensible views everywhere.
In many ways, that outspoken number becomes a flagship track on an EP that gives “empowerment to those who feel invalidated and overlooked”, and via numbers exploring social equality (‘Lads Lads Lads’) and assumptions of sexuality (NME favourite ‘Help Me, I’m Gay’), this punk oriented outfit continues to fly a justifiably angry flag with real conviction. No matter how many important topics inform the material, though, the music carries just as much weight throughout, and its hard not to feel an immediate feeling of excitement during the intro of ‘Mr. Lovebomb’ when it becomes clear that the duo have fused a hardcore punk heart to a riff that sounds like an old 50s rocker, or feel inspired by the hardcore/post punk fusion of ‘White Van’. There’s even time to or marvel at the post-metal, Melvins-esque grinding that creeps into ‘Lads’, which shines a light on an absolutely flawless bass sound. This is one of those EPs where, regardless of the necessary anger and sheer power, everything feels absolutely pitch perfect.
The topics covered in the songs may well be a product of 2022/23, but they’re all issues that needed addressing – as an example, sexuality and gender shouldn’t be such a problem in the modern world; unfortunately, the right wing press and bigots come with frustratingly loud voices – but the lo-fi indie/hardcore sounds used to underscore these messages is absolutely timeless. In short, it doesn’t matter where you drop in, this EP will rattle you, make you think about your immediate surroundings and further still. It’ll also remind you that the brilliantly militant spirit of Bikini Kill and Discharge will live on forever. ‘You’re Welcome’ achieves more, both musically and lyrically, in an incendiary seventeen minutes than some punk bands manage in seventeen years.