UK/Austrian punks Petrol Girls have announced their third studio album, Baby, set to arrive on June 24 via Hassle Records.
The quartet have also dropped a new single, Clowns, which follows the album’s previously-released patriarchy-slating anthem Baby, I Had An Abortion and the Bandcamp-only single Fight For Our Lives.
Discussing the new track, vocalist Ren Aldridge says: “Clowns really showcases the vibe & musical direction of a lot of the record. It’s playful, a bit unhinged and built on a repetitive riff. It was so much fun to write together.
“Clowns began with a lot of comedic placeholders riffing on Stuck in the Middle With You by Stealers Wheel (‘We are the clowns from the left / But they ain’t joking on the right’) that ended up staying in.
“I was like, wait a minute, I can actually just rewrite these lyrics and make them fit this with a political twist on it,” Aldridge continues.
“It started off as a joke, but I do actually think there’s political weight to what I’m trying to say there.”
Of the inspiration behind the new album, which explores everything from sexual violence to immigration policy, Aldridge says that the band entered the studio the same week that PC Wayne Cousins’ trial for the brutal murder of Sarah Everard took place, putting the importance of women’s safety firmly into their minds.
“I wanted to do something on police violence, abolitionists politics and kicking back against carceral feminism,” Aldridge says. “I was thinking about the time my friend was arrested and strip searched by The Met, horrifically.
“I was thinking about Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, and about Sarah Reed. I was thinking of Marcia Rigg, and all her campaigning work since her brother Sean died in police custody. All of these things were going around my head.”
The activist Janey Starling, who also features on Fight For Our Lives, co-wrote the lyrics.
“Thank god, because I definitely bit off more than I could chew” the vocalist continues. “I wanted the track to incite other white middle class women like myself to reject the idea that the police protects us, both in solidarity with communities that are routinely brutalised by the police and in recognition of how useless and actively dangerous the police are with regards to gender based violence.
“My balance of where I put my energy has moved away from just grieving injustice and more towards working out what needs to change and how do we collectively do that,” Aldridge adds. “That’s something I needed for my mental health as well, because I can’t live in a constant state of grief and anger. I need to have purpose and vision in the ways I’m fighting back.”
Listen to Clowns below and pre-order Baby now:
Feed My Fire
Baby, I Had An Abortion
Fight For Our Lives (ft. Janey Starling)
Violent By Design
One Or The Other
Sick & Tired