Irish (although now scattered across Dublin, London, and Bristol) post-punks M(h)aol may only be a few singles deep into their career, but from the very start they’ve had a clear sense of identity and that they’re using their music as a medium to fight back against oppression. That mission comes into sharper focus with today’s new single “Asking For It”, which, tellingly, comes on the tail end of a week when female safety and dangerous male aggression has been at the top of the agenda for everyone in Britain and Ireland (if not beyond). On the new song, they say:
“Asking For It grapples with the topic of victim blaming and sexual violence, dissecting the experience of not only external questioning of our behaviour by society, but the internal questioning that pressure leads to.”
A tight sub-three-minute nerve-shredder, “Asking For It” is a perpetual build from its slithering bass intro to the excoriating finale. M(h)aol’s instrumental onslaught rises in tandem with singer Róisín Nic Ghearailt’s fear and fury; at first she coyly reveals “You say it’s changed your life / Well it’s changed mine too,” but before long it becomes clear that this is absolutely no joke. “I’ve heard what they say / About girls like me / I’m just the dumb bitch / That left the party with you,” she drawls with acidic malice. “WAS I ASKING FOR IT? DID I ASK FOR IT? – NO!” she then spits, as guitars grind all around, battalions of noise to back up her sheer outrage and anger. A short and sharp missive straight from the heart of modern feminist outrage, “Asking For It” is like a spike thrust into your lower back that will make you sit up and pay attention to the unchecked male aggression that is rife throughout society.
Admirably and appropriately, M(h)aol are donating all proceeds from the sales of “Asking For It” to Women’s Aid Ireland. Listen to the song below, but please also purchase it from their Bandcamp if you can (you can also see the full lyrics there).