Montreal Punk Suffragettes Bad Skin Take A Vacation From Restraint With “We Are The Girls”

How many paeans to the power of women are we going to have to hear? If you dared ask Montreal grunge-pop punkers Bad Skin that question, the answer you’d get would probably be “Until you get it through your thick skull.”

Waving their musical middle finger proudly in the tradition of musical forebears like L7, Bikini Kill and No Doubt, the Canadian quartet make their own contribution to the hear-us-roar tradition with “We Are the Girls,” an exhilarating anthem that proves it’s never a bad time to fly the flag for the sisterhood—especially when you do it with the style, smarts and sass of this perfectly turned single, which has “instant classic” graffiti-ed all over it.

Heeding the battle cry of singer/rhythm guitarist Dope, the instrumental axis of lead guitarist Caro, bassist Eugeni and drummer Azalee charges forward to advance a message of unabashedly feminist rebellion:

I don’t care what you say
Or whisper about me
Hey hey hey, we know ‘Cause we are the girls
It’s alright I know what’s going on
We know ‘cause we are the girls

“We made this song for one main purpose: to be blasted and sung out loud,” the band says. “We are all strong women, with strong personalities, from different backgrounds and realities, and we wanted this song to be accessible to everyone who doesn’t fit the mold put in place by the straight white male.”

The track has all the musical pluses you’d expect of the genre: slashing guitars; furious, double-time drumming; and a chant that’s made for endless repetition on nights out with the squad. But pause your headbanging long enough to really listen, and you’ll detect the kind of subtle details that separate the merely serviceable from the great. Notice, for instance, how the sweet release of each chorus is set up by a tense, too-close-for-comfort chord shift that even owes a slight debt to flamenco, for God’s sake.

And that ain’t the half of the cross-cultural collaboration that’s going on here. Joining the group on the track are South Korean sister act Rumkicks, whose frontwoman, Yaewon Jeong, makes the perfect foil for Dope’s declarations of defiance. The whole band joins Bad Skin for the attendant music video, taking to the streets to mug and provoke the camera like 1977 never ended.

“We are big fans of their work, of their music, of their stance, of what they have been through as an all-women punk band,” the members of Bad Skin say of Rumkicks. “And we especially relate to their attitude towards it all. We were very excited that they decided to join us in this crazy project with so much enthusiasm.”

Enthusiasm has been a hallmark of the Bad Skin experience since the band formed in the most punk of ways: Dope put up some flyers and posters looking for musicians, and Caro answered the call. Thanks to Facebook, Eugeni and Azalee soon followed suit. That was in 2016; since then, the group has appeared on stages around the world, including prestigious festival gigs and opening slots for the likes of Bad Religion. And they’ve released a series of incendiary recordings like the Live Fast Die Punk EP and the singles “Clowns for President” and “Completely Insane.”

To that list we can now add “We Are the Girls,” perhaps the most persuasive evidence yet of Bad Skin’s jaw-jutting disobedience. Released on Dance Plant Records—which the band considers not just a label but an assemblage of mentors—it’s a bold step forward in their mission to become the best version of themselves while shining a light on injustice and giving voice to the voiceless. As for all you fellas out there: It probably wouldn’t kill you to just listen for once.