“I Know Why The Caged Grrrl Sings” is a compilation featuring the bands who have frequented a diy/queer/riot-grrrl night in Brighton (that’s in Englandshire if you don’t have Google Maps handy) and like, all such well intentioned things, there’s a something for everyone attitude that holds your interest all the way through the 15 songs. Onwards to the songs…
Frau (“Snakeskin”) – not so much a song as a stretched power chord with an attached rant. It’s 55 seconds well spent.
Dog legs (“Beast like Me”) – self-deprecating lyrics hidden under the kind of candy coating that evokes bands like Voice of the Beehive with the end result being somewhat untidy yet still managing to turn into a shining star.
Not Right (“The Lead Role”) – hysterical post punk flavoured with Crass sensibilities right turns and head off into the sunset before the song can hit the two minute mark.
Ravioli Me Away (“Imagination”) – Rough and ready reinvention of early, John Foxx era, Ultravox that fades away into rhetoric and manic thoughts.
Frozy (“Secret”) – so cute it could only be described as twee pop, this is the happy bunny song of this compilation.
Men Oh Pause (“Concrete Woman”) – something of a mess but you can’t deny the appeal of the malevolently brooding organ and those vocals that take being laconic to the next level.
Expensive (“Secrets in the Moss”) – undeniably commercial song with its aural appeal greatly enhanced by the super sweet female vocals
Humousexual (“The Deviant Sounds of Batty Street”) – Oblique but cheery guitar pop that suggests greater things might just be possible.
Los Cripis (“Falling”) – another twee one that inherits a bit of style muscle from middle America guitar bands.
Bona H.C. (“Different”) – out of nowhere the aggression get turned up for a minute and a half of punk flavoured fury.
Big Joanie (“Damaged”) – lumpen and downright messy in execution, this song just gets lost in the mix.
Shopping (“For Your Money”) – easy on the ears if a little dull, this song runs like an homage to guitar bands like Orange Juice
Beauty Pageant (“Lashes”) – no-fi and none the worse for that, the song has nowhere to go but kicks in every door getting there.
Wachi Wachi (“Night Salvation”) – in comparison, this song is so mellow that it makes you want to buy a box of Milk Tray and a bottle of Echo Falls so that you can lose the night to romance.
Silver Fox (“Bed Bed Bed”) – the song nearly crumbles under the weight of its own direction but the band keep on playing anyway.
This is a nice package, by the way. The record is pressed on blue vinyl (even if it sounds notably worse than the digital download with the review copy also having a mastering fault on track 2) and comes with an A3 insert with info on the bands. It also comes with a truly remarkable A4 sized diatribe – one that even manages to include mass extermination and eugenics as a solution to inequality - on the philosophy behind the aforementioned diy/queer/riot-grrrl night. Even if you don’t like the music, these words alone are worth the price of admission.
The album is available from Bandcamp.