A formidable new working-class women’s voice, Loose Articles describe themselves as feminine and threatening. And feminine they are – in exactly the same way a smut-nosed ten-year-old is feminine just before she smears gravel in your face. Don’t mistake it for softness.
Their second EP, Chaos, is out now on Alcopop! Records, is a satirical examination of the hazards of modern life – keyboard warriors, the death of the independent pub, sexist footie fans, and the helplessness that modern women often feel in the face of impending doom.
Loose Articles has swagger for days, but their point of view is unmistakably feminine. With Chaos they bring a female gaze to bear on Britain as it is right now: post-Brexit, post-COP26, possibly post-hope. Their songs are raw and packed with irony, and sometimes sound like several songs packed into three minutes. A traditional four piece with an exceptionally raw sound, Loose Articles are low on melody, high on volume, and have more balls than most all-dongle lineups.
Opening track ‘Chaos’, despite its noise and roar, is a delicate exercise in irony. It screams rage at those who allowed the climate crisis to happen, while hinting at the confusing pleasure of good weather brought on by a burning planet. ‘Politicians may drown under the rising of seas before they take this threat to existence seriously’…. but in the meantime, we can work on our suntans.
‘Eggshells’ is a cinematic, 5-minute marathon with a doom-ridden surf vibe. Its 1960s beach party guitars contrast sharply with the resentful, smoldering lyric. In this conflicted setting, the refrain ‘Having an opinion makes you a villain’ is more than just personal. It calls up antiquated but still-powerful notions about how women ought to behave – to which the band heartily gives two fingers up.
If ‘Eggshells’ references gendered standards, it makes sense that ‘Dirty Dick’s Food and Ale Emporium’ is the track to follow. Yes, it’s about pub gentrification, but you know it must be fun to shout ‘dirty dicks’ into a mic. Vocalist Natalie Wardle does so with zest. This is easily the most fun track on the release, with a verse that’s as close as Loose Articles comes to a groove.
The closing track ‘Kick Like a Girl’ is thunderous and repetitive. Its repetition reflects the utter tedium of still having the same stupid discussions about women’s abilities that we find ourselves in far too frequently. Footie fan or not, Wardle’s shriek of pure frustration is one that women will recognize.
Chaos is a big step forward for a band whose creativity is rooted in selective refusal. Loose Articles are exciting precisely because of what they refuse to do. They won’t sound too polished, they won’t look perfect and cross their knees like ladies, and most importantly, they won’t take themselves seriously. We should all be having as much fun.