Single Review – Pussy Riot by Police State

It’s time to get your neon coloured balaclava out of the sock drawer because Pussy Riot are back. With lines like; ‘Shut the borders burn the others sons and daughters and the mothers,’ and ‘take my body anybody I’m your trophy make my nose bleed now you own me,’ you know exactly where you are with Pussy Riot’s new single ‘Police State’. Continuing to fearlessly portray the 21st century in the kind of punk-pop tracks that ignite an instant passion by mixing hard-hitting images with pop chord sequences Pussy Riot maintain their empowering politically charged punk stance, unafraid to get their hands dirty in the fight to raise the voices of those that the often pompous and outdated continue to attempt to oppress.

Hayley Miller

EP Review – Pussy Riot – xxx

Pussy Riot – xxx Review

Pussy Riot have returned with new EP, ‘xxx’. Normally a collaborative group, this release could be considered a solo effort from one of Pussy Riot’s three founding members, Nadya Tolokonnikova. Using pop music as a vehicle for her inflammatory, feminist views has created something that is both melodic and important listening.

The three song EP opens with post-Trump anthem ‘Make America Great Again’- perhaps one of the most direct musical attacks on Trump we’ve heard yet. This track denounces the President-elect and his treatment of women and minorities, while actively supporting the BLM movement by urging Americans to “stop killing black children”. In addressing these issues, this song questions its own title by denying the notion that America ever was “great”, and suggesting that the only way in which greatness could be achieved is by people standing up, taking action and fighting against Trump and his views.

This is followed by the contrastingly upbeat ‘Straight Outta Vagina’, an ode to the female anatomy which features lyrics such as “don’t play stupid, don’t play dumb, vagina’s where you’re really from” and is accompanied by a video celebrating women and vaginas of all shapes and sizes. An obvious play on the N.W.A. track, this track features two guest verses from rappers Desi Mo and Leikali47 that further celebrate the role of women in art, popular culture and the everyday lives of everyone- a role that is often forgotten or overlooked. The track also references the time Pussy Riot spent imprisoned, with the lyric ‘if your vagina lands itself in prison, then the world is gonna listen’ offering a reminder of the reason Pussy Riot are so influential, and of the sacrifices they made for their freedom of speech. This is a song to inspire women, and to remind everyone that, without women, they wouldn’t be here. While the focus on the sexual organs of women over the women themselves may be seen as objectifying by some, the message is clear- women are a force to be reckoned with.

The EP closes with ‘Organs’, a potent Russian-language track that can be translated via the YouTube closed captions feature. ‘Organs’ speaks on the obstacles faced by women, voices the outrage felt over the power governing bodies have over women’s own bodies and the imprisonment of innocent people under Putin’s regime. A direct, unsubtle criticism of the system responsible for their imprisonment, Pussy Riot’s ‘Organs’ is as powerful as it is moving. Unlike the rest of the EP, the tone of this track is dark, representing the oppression felt by Russian people and urging them to take action against their oppressors.

It’s clear that Pussy Riot have a lot to say, and ‘xxx’ gets these views across perfectly. While the EP has an almost novelty feel in places on the first listen, with time it becomes clear that the use of catchy pop melodies merely acts as a device to get people listening to what they have to say. It’s an angry, defiant collection of songs that manage to tackle a wide range of issues in a surprisingly short amount of time. Pussy Riot make pop music with a message, and that message can be heard loud and clear on ‘xxx’.

Katie Hayes

Pinkshyinyultrablast – Everything Else Matters Review

Pinkshinyultrablast
This is the face of Russian Shogaze at the moment. The nation and the genre may not seem like an obvious marriage, but Pinkshinyultrablast from St. Petersburg are certainly establishing the genre in Russia right now. Like most modern shoegaze bands their influences are no different from their French, British or US counterparts with My Bloody Valentine and The Cocetau Twins playing a big part in that regard. Can they bring a different perspective on the Shoegaze sound with their debut Everything Else Matters? They did say that “we realised the local indie scene was totally boring and wanted to play something radically different.” after all.
Their lead single ‘Umi’ opens with a siren-like guitar with rapid and tumbling percussion falling upon it. The bass comes in to string these two instrumentals together along with the sweeping, wistful vocals that glaze over the main body of music to give it a sense of balance and add to it’s potential space and atmospheric quality. This allows for the main body of music to fall in and out of this floating melodic ‘mist’ to only emphasise the rhythm and distant urgency of the instrumentals. A soft edged and fluid track. ‘Holy Forest’ features a loose and rotating riff that locks in the flashing synths that intercede it before launching into a distorted wash out with the echoed vocals and wiry synths taking over the songs direction. These are underpinned by the sharp percussion beneath if for true distorted affair flanked by moments of light guitar work.
‘Metamorphis’ features a wave of looped synth chords and vocal manipulations that slide off into a shoegaze wash of distortion and crashing percussion which itself fades off into a stripped back instrumental of an isolated bass line and a wistful, echoed vocal. These instrumentals are ushered in by simple percussive elements back into the washed out, firework display of a sound. ‘Land’s End’ offers up a similar approach musically with the isolated guitars and percussion being glazed over by floating and fluid electronica and vocal sweeps. ‘Marigold’ is the eight minute shoegaze anthem (for want of a better word) that finishes off the short album. The ringing guitars are switched back and forth to the tradition distorted washes and the vocal is almost haunting to the track throughout. This washed out sound reaches a peak and leaks out a more expansive and drawn out sound from the guitars and alternates in this fashion to more rougher and sharper guitars too. The album is pretty faithful to the shoegaze genre but does gently formulate some of it’s own sounds and idea in amongst the traditional elements that they deliver better than most modern shoegaze bands. For a debut album it’s something that should receive a fair amount of admiration but there are greater things to come for sure.
Pinkshinyultrablast – Everything Else Matters = 8/10

Single Review – Pinkshinyultrablast – Umi

‘Umi’ is the first single to be released from Pinkshinyultrablast’s upcoming studio album Everything Else Matters which is to be released in January by the St. Petersburg shoegaze band. The band and their music was born out of the stagnant music scene in the city saying that “we realised the local indie scene was totally boring and wanted to play something radically different.” The single opens with a siren-like guitar with rapid and tumbling percussion falling upon it. The bass comes in to string these two instrumentals together along with the sweeping, wistful vocals that glaze over the main body of music to give it a sense of balance and add to it’s potential space and atmospheric quality. This allows for the main body of music to fall in and out of this floating melodic ‘mist’ to only emphasise the rhythm and distant urgency of the instrumentals. A soft edged and fluid track that is available on November 10th.