Kamikaze Girls - Seafoam (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Kamikaze Girls

Seafoam (2017)

Wiretap records

I had heard a lot of buzz about British two-piece Kamikaze Girls before the even had an EP out, and was really excited to hear what they actually sound like with their debut LP, Seafoam. I heard the band described as a riot grrrl band, and that’s true in the strictest definition of that genre. Technically there’s no official musical style that defines riot grrl, it’s just defined as punk rock with feminist lyrics. Kamikaze Girls are definitely that. But I associate riot grrrl with more pop-punk and indie-punk styles, something more upbeat and breezy, not the much darker and gloomier sound that Kamikaze Girls gives us. What Kamikaze Girls sound like is if you put Sonic Youth, The Cranberries, and The Cure into a blender and hit puree. And I mean that as a compliment, because those are three styles that blend together perfectly, and which can’t be easy to pull off with nothing more than a guitar and drums.

The moment that the album starts with the grunge-style lurching of the guitars in “One Young Man,” it because pretty clear that Kamikaze Girls are pulling from 90’s influences. In 2014, frontwoman Lucinda Livingstone was robbed at gunpoint on her way to work, which sparked an episode of PTSD that nearly ruined her life. “One Young Man” tells the story of that mugging. Kamikaze Girls have a particular focus on mental health, so the rest of the album continues to be about mental illness, but it feels like a lot of the songs are based around Livingstone’s reactions to that one mugging at the beginning of the album, making for a very interesting concept album. “KG Goes to the Pub” is about the feeling of being triggered and scared to leave the house because of men groping her in the bar. Still, Livingstone refuses to be a passive victim in this situation with the furiously catchy refrain of “Grab my waist one more time and I’ll knock your fucking lights out.” “Weaker Than” takes a very stark and honest look at contemplating suicide. But the album is not about sitting in that sad space forever, unlike their previous EP SAD, so we see Seafoam ending on a desire for hope with “I Don’t Want to Be Sad Forever.”

Kamikaze Girls’ biography on Facebook starts with the sentence “Kamikaze Girls want you to know that it’s okay to be sad.” But Livinstone has said that Seafoam is her coming out on the other side of everything she’s fought through. So Kamikaze Girls do want you to know that it’s okay to be sad, but they also want you to know there’s hope on the other side. The album, as a whole, takes an honest and non-judgmental look at different aspects of mental illness within a 90’s-esque hard-rock sound that expresses the necessary sorrow, but still has a lot of power to it. This is an excellent debut for any band, and Kamikaze Girls show a lot of promise for a long and successful career.