Hailing from Paris, France, Mary Bell bring the righteous anger of the early-to-mid 90s roaring back to life for 2017. Their debut album, Mary Bell LP, takes no prisoners.
They describe themselves as “Bikini Kill meets Dischord Records” as well as name checking Bratmobile and Sonic Youth. Though more obscure, the band could be best described as the Red Aunts plus 20 years. The big difference with Mary Bell is that while records from Bikini Kill and any number of Dischord acts practically ooze politics, Mary Bell dials up the attitude without being overtly feminist (or otherwise activist) in the way that Bikini Kill epitomized third wave feminism. There is an argument that the sheer act of being an all-female band is political unto itself, but over two decades removed from the riot grrrl movement, let’s hope the world is a better place and not do that anymore. Can we hope it no longer needs to be a “thing?” If you bring the rock, you bring the rock.
Mary Bell take their moniker from a notorious late 60s British killer, and the name fits them perfectly. The listener gets the sense that the band wants to kill you, a feeling confirmed by the lyric “I want to kill you” from the caustic “I Hate You.”
Truthfully, every song here could be described as “caustic.” For 13 tracks and 27 minutes, the band unleashes punk Armageddon, anchored by distorted basslines and screechy vocals. At just north of two minutes a track and descriptions like the above, you pretty much know what you’re getting. Mary Bell packs the promised punch. Mary Bell LP is available via the popular “name your price” option on Bandcamp, so there’s really no excuse. Let them kill you, please and thank you.