By Allan Sko
“We are like the love child of B-52s and Rage Against The Machine”, Glitoris stated to BMA Magazine, back in a dim and distant time known as 2016. “We’re feminist because we stand for equality. We’re feminist, and we love men. We’re feminist and we’re punk because our work is not finished and there is a lot to yell about.”
Seven years later, with a highly-anticipated second LP, Glitoris, finally unleashed, a lot has changed in the world that mirror-holders Glitoris inhabit.
And a lot hasn’t.
At such a prosperous time for the band, it’s amazing to think the fierce, fun ‘n’ femme, once-punk now genre-bending art rock, foursome was originally meant to be a one-off formation.
“Yup. Clearly, we were wrong about that one,” they quip.
And thank the musical gods they were. In fact, it’s probably the only thing they have been “wrong” about. With a growing legion of fans— the Gliterati—and a self-titled long player that “tackles global issues, including internet trolling, femicide, and climate change,” Glitoris are more vibrant and necessary than ever.
Sadly, I wasn’t there that night for what is now a slice of local musical history—our own ‘seeing The Beatles at The Cavern’. But I can imagine that o-so special ‘click!’ that must have occurred, spurned by a fervent crowd, as the notes, hearts, and politics, all slotted into place.
This is a collective through and through; a fact that shines both via their unified answers, and their purpose.
Oh yes, politics.
The band have always worn their hearts, and opinions, on their sleeves, writ large in angry, yet glittery, pink letters. And as the eagle-eyed among you may have noticed, it was “they quip”.
“We were driven by politics the entire time,” they say, of the new album’s writing process. “It’s in the band’s DNA! And let’s face it; politics just keeps on giving.
“Choose Your Fighter!, for example, was initially written about the diplomatic disaster over the submarine deal between Australia and France: Morrison’s appalling lack of diplomacy on the world stage, Macron’s response, and the way the whole episode played out.
“But then we had AUKUS, the announcement of the $328bn investment, the exploding submarine on the doomed billionaire Titanic trip… it just kept giving!”
As the game referencing Choose Your Fighter! title suggests, Glitoris’ work is propelled not only by their social conscience but by castigation delivered with idiosyncratic humour and caustic wit.
“There’s a good dose of our trademark humour too, which can be found in tracks like Spoiler Alert,” they assure us.
To speak only of political messaging and calls for equality is to neglect one hugely important aspect of Glitoris; their songs fucking BANG. From the rampaging rebel words atop the power punk drive and drowsy Kashmir-like riff of 2018’s The Policy, up to the ponderous rhythmic pulse, varied guitar palette, and operatic vocal tendencies of sex-positive anthem Lickity Split, Glitoris ensure their message is not so much delivered as it is punched down the throat via scintillating sonics.
“We are so very proud of this new album, and the process was certainly a different one to The Policy,” they reveal. “We wrote the bulk of Glitoris during the pandemic, which allowed us to go into the depths of writing in a more focused and adventurous way.
“We workshopped each track to its limit, which has resulted in a more complex and dynamic sound.”
To whit, this expansion of sound has led to a kaleidoscope of musical styles, moving beyond the band’s scrappy punk origins.
“There is definitely a wider variety of genres and influences in this album,” they assert. “It’s so proggy. And there’s metal, pop, swing, Broadway… and a good dose of rock opera!
“We don’t want to be referred to as a ‘punk band’; we have long moved on from the punk origins,” they continue. “We’ve embraced our musicianship and pushed ourselves, especially with vocals and harmonies. Mickey brought a whole new dimension to this band with her incredible drumming and singing, so that lifted us.”
The extra time for honing, the inclusion of Mickey, and the growing experience has all contributed to their best work yet.
“It’s all killer, no filler!” they beam. “With The Policy, we recorded a ridiculous 21 songs then handpicked the best ones. This time we went into the studio with a solid ten songs ready to go.
“We were so focused during the songwriting process that anything that was deemed ‘even just a little bit shit’ was dumped before we finished the songs. The track order pretty much wrote itself.”
And that, dear reader, is not all, with the band dipping into their contact list to further round out their sound.
“A couple of tracks feature an epic string ensemble, arranged by Daniel Denholm (Silverchair, Tim Minchin),” they state. “Veronique Serret led the string section on Sock Puppet and Oizys. We were so keen to work with her; she’s such an outstanding musician who is so versatile in her playing.
“There’s even some sneaky accordion in there by Elana Stone of All My Exes Live in Texas.”
As you can see, a lot has changed with Glitoris, and the world they inhabit. And a lot has remained the same, making the band more important than ever.
I put this notion to them.
“There is no doubt that the post-Gillard feminism back in the early days of Glitoris has changed dramatically,” they state. “Since 2016, we’ve had the #metoo movement, Black Lives Matter, a huge push for Indigenous rights, Trans rights, as well as a global pandemic, which brought the realities of global inequality to the fore.
“In 2023, we’re seeing a greater range of different feminisms. Sadly, some of the ideas are split along the more extreme political lines we’ve seen emerge. “In past albums, we’ve yelled a lot about things like the gender pay gap and blatant discrimination. On this album, the feminism we reflect is a far more informed, nuanced, and global one.
“We’re talking about the human, environmental, and economic cost of war, the mental health epidemic, climate change, abolition. A lot of these concepts derive from women Indigenous activists who we’re in touch with and read/listen to regularly.
“That comes through in songs like The Goats, which is calling for an end to the ineffectual incarceration system; Power Pop, which is laying responsibility for the state of our climate squarely at the foot
of past generations and their choice of inaction.
“And one song that is particularly hard-hitting is Femicide. As Amy McQuire and Deb Kilroy have campaigned, the number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in this country is horrific. There was supposed to be a senate enquiry, but it disappeared.
“As both have mentioned, there’s been flashpoints, such as the murders of Eurydice Dixon in 2018 and Hannah Clarke in 2020, where the femicide issue is suddenly on the agenda again. But it soon falls out of public consciousness.
“We have to ask ourselves: why is this acceptable in our society? How is it ok for women to be murdered at such rates? Why has no action been taken?
“Murdering women is normalised – it’s that simple.
“We saw some shocking cases in Latin America – the line at the end of the middle eight ‘la culpa la tuvo cupido’ is referring to the murder of Ingrid Escamilla in Mexico City.
“The song is about getting the issue back on the agenda, the ongoing violence against women, the way male perpetrators are depicted in the media (he was kind, hard working…), and how we can always use hindsight but never seem to learn from it.”
It’s heavy stuff, for sure. But it’s real, and the need to scream about it is necessary.
On this topic, Punk Dad For All, Henry Rollins, told BMA in a recent interview, regarding what modern day punk looks like:
“At this point, it’s a moral/civic idea. You see a lot of groups targeted for abuse like LGBTQIA+, women, non-white etc. I think a true punk person would be standing up for these people.”
I proffer to the group that, although they have moved beyond their punk roots, this is Glitoris through and through, is it not?
“We would love Henry Rollins to be our Dad!” they enthuse. “The band was born out of the Queer community and our biggest fans are from that community.
“That’s why we came back with Lickety Split. It’s a nod to our friends and the community who’ve supported us from the beginning.
“We are activists and advocates. We will always champion LGBTQIA+ rights, Indigenous rights, sw3rker rights, climate and environmental causes. Whenever there’s a rally or a march about these things, we’re right there with bells on!”
And circle Saturday, 23 September in your diary, when the band rip The Basement a new ‘un as part of their Come Say That To Our Faces! headline tour. Tix are $29.60 via OzTix.
You can also catch a bonus gig the night before at The Queanbeyan Hive. Very cool. Grab those tix via Moshtix.
GLITORIS LP FUN FACTS!