M(h)aol – Gender Studies EP
M(h)aol’s debut EP strikes harsh tones into the world of post-punk, being not only impressive through the band’s power to combine unrelenting distorted surges of punk with tonally and semantically entrancing lyrics, but also in its production, with the record being compiled in a succinct three days due to their different bases spanning Dublin, Bristol and London.
The eponymous track, Gender Studies, delivers a strong image of the band’s capability. Vocalist Róisín Nic Ghearailt delivers a conversation of anger in fatigue, a worn out mocking of classic ‘criticisms’ (if they can be called as such) of feminism. Searing guitar chords and pulsating bass strongly aid the emotional resonance of the track, along with its enchanting music video – a merging of archive depictions of women with harsh imagery overlaid – sound familiar?
This track sets a strong precedent for M(h)aol’s musical presence within the EP. The first half of the record delivers some strong features of the band, especially within their straying of structural musical conventions, in the absence of traditional choruses – replaced instead with much more significantly repeated lines (e.g. “I can’t hear with your voice in my head”) – as well as their brazen attitudes to song length, seen most prominently in the short, sweet Kinder Bueno.
In a personal favourite Laundries, as well as the stunning closing folk cover Óró Sé do Bheatha Bhaile, M(h)aol’s murky, shadowlike tones are given a stronger spotlight, signalling their ability to shift listeners through various atmospheres whilst firmly maintaining strong messages of identity. In this mixture of both variation and consistency, Gender Studies acts as a seminal, virile debut EP that is more than worth a listen – released digitally today.
More from M(h)aol here
Words by Jacob Rose
Photo © Susan Appleby
29th October 2021