Album Review – Miss June – Bad Luck Party

Miss June‘s debut EP Matriarchy, which was released back in April 2015 was a stunning collection of songs full of raw energy uncompromising lyrics and no-fucks-given attitude. Fast forward four years and their debut album ‘Bad Luck Party’ may see the band finessing their sound, but they have certainly lost none of their guts and raw power, nor their willingness to confront inequity head-on. Frontperson Annabel Liddell is clearly a woman on a mission as she channels searing rage and frustration into a thrilling debut album. And she lives the songs, there’s no pretence or pose here, she comes across as very much the real deal.

For a band which exudes so much raw energy and have made a name for themselves back in their New Zealand homeland for their frenetic and unhinged performances, its actually on the songs in which the band dial it down slightly which sees them truly shine and deliver a real emotional punch.

The album kicks off with the pulsating ‘Twitch’ a song which seems to act as the musical bridge from the past to the present and if we were grasping for the poetic metaphor we could perhaps translate the lyrics as appearing to represent a battle with confidence and inertia – “I’m afraid to lose, but even more to win” croons Liddell as her vocals sail on a soaring melody that weaves between thundering basslines and crunching guitars.  In fact the lyrics are far more literal than that – “I’m not used to you being alive/I don’t like the colour of your insides/But I’ll do my best not to make it worse, and I’ll do my best not to make you hurt ” was actually inspired by Liddell’s first year of clinical placement for Medical School as she explained The song is about the first time I operated on a living human being and how different this was to operating on a cadaver.”

Title track ‘Bad Luck Party’ is another towering grunge-pop beast which sees Liddell snarl – “I wanna be your best girl/ I wanna be the one who takes down the world/ Antevert my uterus and birth you all/Anarchy can only be about a girl.”

The explosive punk-pop on tracks such as ‘Two Hits’ and ‘Please Waste My Time’ seem to adopt a scorched earth policy in that they are frenetic, combative and pulverise anything in sight. There’s certainly more than a hint of the take no prisoners style of Bikini Kill, and these tracks certainly get their point across in uncompromising style, but I was also hoping for a couple of re-recordings of older tracks ( the incredible Stooge-esque snarl of ‘Drool’ and ‘Average Joe’ for example). Sometimes less is more and it’s on tracks such as the sublime ‘Orchid’ where the band really excel when the rage is controlled before it explodes in a visceral and life-affirming chorus.

The slow burn of ‘Double Negative’ is another glorious moment and recent single ‘Enemies’ sounds like a stadium-ready battering ram of an anthem. ‘Anomaly’ is the sort of tune that would have Madonna green-eyed had she ever ventured down the grunge punk path, in the sense that at its heart it’s a brilliant pop song. It’s also a damn fine example of how to mix melody, noise and attitude with killer pop hooks.   All in all, it’s a  genuinely fantastic debut from a band who, not unlike Aussie punks Amyl And The Sniffers take their inspiration from DIY punk and garage rock n roll but don’t simply rehash what has gone before, instead they create something new, visceral and thrilling and relevant to the world today. And in Liddell, they have a frontwoman who certainly has the potential to become as influential and iconic as those who have gone before her. And she’s just as likely to kick you in the bollocks. And you’ll probably have deserved it.


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Review Miss June

Full 2019 Bad Luck Party Tour Dates:
September 6th – San Fran Bath House – Wellington
September 7th – Galatos – Auckland
September 11th – The Vanguard – Sydney
September 18th – Maze – Berlin
September 19th – Blue Shel – Cologne
September 20th – Reeperbahn Festival – Hamburg
September 23rd – Cinetol – Amsterdam
September 24th – Trix – Antwerp
September 28th – The Flapper – Birmingham
September 29th – Yes – Manchester
September 30th – Headrow House – Leeds
October 1st – Poetry Club – Glasgow
October 2nd – Sneaky Pete’s – Edinburgh
October 5th – Tiny Rebel – Cardiff
October 6th – Port Mahon – Oxford
October 7th – Rough Trade – Bristol
October 9th – Latest Music – Brighton
October 10th – The Lexington – London
October 14th – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
October 15th – Once – Boston, MA
October 16th – DC9 – Washington, DC
October 17th – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
October 19th – Velvet Underground – Toronto, ON
October 21st – Subterranean – Chicago, IL
October 23rd – The Basement – Nashville, TN
October 24th – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
October 27th – Bronze Peacock – Houston, TX
October 28th – Hotel Vegas – Austin, TX
November 1st – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
November 2nd – Morrocan – Los Angeles, CA
November 4th – Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA

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