Dead Naked Hippies have released their latest single ‘Young Male Rage’, taking aim at an issue planted firmly in the zeitgeist of today. Expertly produced by Matt Peel of The Nave, the go-to hand for any musician in Leeds wanting studio treatment, the track comes out punching from the start with a loud guitar riff that interrupts the roughly 2-second intro to let you know it wants to be heard. Fitting, for the song title. It’s their best work to date and a more accurate representation of the live sound, recorded with no bass since the three-piece doesn’t have one, relying instead on guitarist Joe Clarke smartly utilising different pedals and switching between a guitar and bass amp. Alongside a digital release, subscribers to the excellent Come Play With Me were treated to a 7” vinyl copy, the fruits of the label’s open call for women in music. While including two males, the band is fronted by Lucy Jowett, and the mixture was important as the songwriting evolved. Jowett says: “This is about gender norms – the conditioning we subject our children to from a young age in the values we instil and in particular the idea of male dominance and the toxic effect it can have. Earlier this year this topic was constantly cropping up between us, and ‘Young Male Rage’ was the result of these conversations – from the perspective of a mixed gender band. We wanted to flip this on its head and project it from the female voice.”
Writing about such topics, entangled as they so often are with themes of sexuality and identity, is hardly new, but continues to resonate as so often in life art leads the way in driving progressive conversation. Your writer still found himself stumbling over words and struggling to ask concise questions when interviewing Jowett for fear of misstep, thankfully Lucy had no such issues, “I think it’s so drilled into us that there are just two genders and there isn’t a spectrum as such. And I think people should be able to identify however they want. For whatever reason over time we’ve put some strict barriers in place on how you should identify because this is what the world says you should be. I think it’s a load of bullshit to be honest. I’m proud to be a woman but I wouldn’t ever want to think that it defines me.” It’s likely not a disagreeable message for anybody listening to Dead Naked Hippies or reading Delinquent, but there is always, always room for it to be delivered with such coherence and with all the clarity of a thick full stop at the end of a sentence.
You can hear Dead Naked Hippies tomorrow night as the Brudenell Social Club hosts HerFest, before the band heads on tour throughout November.