Pussy Riot: Matriarchy Now review – a jolly down to orthodoxy | pop and rock


If you haven’t listened to Pussy Riot since 2012, when their Punk Prayer landed three members of the Russian feminist punk art collective two years in a penal colony, brace yourself.

Matriarchy Now cover art. Photography: Ksti Hu

Though they’ve long since ditched thrash-n-yell Oi!-by-way-of-Bikini Kill, this debut mixtape, produced by Tove Lo and jam-packed with guests from iLoveMakonnen to Big Freedia, is a different world. : kitsch, hypersexual political pop where irony and ideology grind awkwardly. When it works, it’s weirdly hilarious and brilliant: Sugarmommy, featuring Mazie, evokes Grimes fomenting revolution with Aqua, while Hatefuck, featuring Slayyyter, is Atari Teenage Riot throwing a strop in the beard queue to dad, disturbed by the childish voice of Nadya Tolokonnikova – the only Pussy Rioter in this incarnation (Maria Alyokhina, the other global representative of the loose and open group, recently shot a musical called Riot Days). When it doesn’t work, it’s horrible: Phoebe Ryan’s collaboration, Horny, should, like all songs of this title, be sent back beyond the Oort cloud.

The shift from the topical to the interpersonal leaves the words more limited; the aisles of pop are already abundantly filled with sexual power politics, and no one needed two boilerplate additions to the excess mountains of songs about self-saving heroines (Princess Charming) and sex- doll-fembots (Plastic).

Yet Matriarchy Now is rebellious music in the context of Pussy Riot’s origins – a deliberate “sellout” of punk purity, and an embrace of conservative Russian society and the patriarchs of the Orthodox Church – which makes it clear that the ambitions Tolokonnikova’s artistic talents extend beyond her undeniable heroism. . After years of being asked about Putin, whatever music she plays, the confusion, joy and revulsion evoked by these seven songs should open up a new conversation.


theguardian Gt

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