Second Sex: Petite Morte

The splendid provocation inherent in naming your punk band after Simone de Beauvoir’s highly existential feminist work and then naming your debut album after the French phrase for orgasm is pretty strong an indication of the attitude on show here. The high-energy trashy punk veers between latter-day Libertines/Hives-esque raging and the street smarts of the legendary New Rose label.

Lyrically, the band’s comfortable singing in either English or French although to UK ears the cadences and phonemes of French-language punk also lend a massive swathe of frisson to proceedings. Musically-speaking, highlights are the Strokes-y ‘I’m Ready’ and ‘Heartattack’ which is as nihilistic as you could ever imagine a love song to be. Elsewhere, the energy is ramped up to absolutely irresistible levels on ‘Fille Facile’, a track of passionate power that is both wasted and elegant and sounds like a distressed leather jacket looks when you stick a load of safety pins through the collar just to see what happens.

There’s nothing subtle about Second Sex, with rampant drums, power chords and snotty lyrics all over the place. And that’s exactly the point: sometimes life is all about the instant hit, the moment of excitement in the crackle of an amp on the edge of feedback and the feel of the first (but not the last) vodka of the night as it first freezes then burns down your throat. You know it’s going to be the first of many more short sharp shocks to come and listening to this album is exactly like that. Come and get drunk cause sometimes that’s the only thing that matters and, by Christ and by Sid, it feels fucking good.
Joe Shooman