1996 – Rock and Roll High School Records
Today I listened to the self-titled debut EP from Brisbane based riot grrrl band Hecate, who have now, sadly, broken up.
The record is grungy, unashamedly political, and harsh, but it really makes for some great listening. It opens with the track By Myself; a collection of feminist rally chants set to a thrashing punk backbeat. This might sound like it would be annoying, but it actually really amps you up. In fact, I found myself chanting along myself at times as I wandered about my apartment.
The rest of the EP is in a similar vein; militantly feminist grungy punk-metal, however the band is not just a one trick pony. Their compositions are really very good, and, for all their juvenile brashness and force, they have some solid musical sensibilities as is evidenced in the harmonic Gregorian chanting of Rapunzel or the understated technicality of Sitar Piece (confusingly not played on a sitar).
One downside, however, is that the vocals are woefully weak, especially on By Myself and Labyrinth. Although, while this really lowers one’s appreciation of the music, it does give the band a certain human charm. They are not rock gods – they are just women who’ve got something to say.
I’ve had some trouble in giving a rating to this EP in that it’s not spectacular, but its very mediocrity is what makes it such a great record. It really is a conundrum, however, I’m going to be harsh and say that, while I’m personally a big fan of this release, its appeal is limited and its untroubled plainness might not be charming to some.
I would strongly urge every appreciator of music to give it a spin, but I would be more than understanding if it’s not your cup of tea.