Considering the current political hellscape, you might expect returning riot grrrl torchbearer Kathleen Hanna to deploy her laser-like wail in the service of, say, searing Donald Trump’s quiff off. Instead, her second album with the Julie Ruin focuses on the politics of the personal – how she “hit reset” after an abusive childhood and an adult battle with Lyme disease – with the effusiveness of someone bursting out of an airless room. Its songs are like hand grenades dusted with icing sugar, disguising their subject matter with hand-claps, kazoo-like synths and the playful delivery of jump-rope taunts – often a bit too sweet, in fact. The superbly catchy social-media takedown in Planet You (“Start a Kickstarter for yr heart”), the playground punk tirade of I’m Done, and Time Is Up, a brilliantly undone punk-funk number with syrupy whammy-pedal guitar, sound like a mesh of Hanna’s former bands – a sort of Bikini Tigre 2.0. But it’s I Decide’s grainy post-punk claustrophobia that leaves you wishing they’d ditched some of the beehive-coiffing bops in favour of something darker.
The Julie Ruin: Hit Reset review – sweet'n'sour fury from Kathleen Hanna
Kate Hutchinson is a freelance culture writer and hosts a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM