Mary Bell


Mary Bell Cerbero LP

Third LP (and the fifth release) from Paris’s MARY BELL, blaring out thirteen tracks of riot grrrl, grunge-laden aggression. Staccato guitar leads like you’d find from SLEATER-KINNEY with a super fuzzy rhythm guitar and a robust, gut-churning bass. Vocals vary from the sweeter side on “Watch Me Disappear” with a ’60s girl group influence, to more strained and typical of the genre on “Inferno.” American foresisters of the ’80s and ’90s would be proud, as Cerbero’s venom is just as potent. To give an example of the group’s serious, feminist intent, they take their name from a violently abused English girl, who went on to be England’s youngest killer in 1968. The point to be taken clearly is not the latter statistic, but rather to abhor the neglect, sexual abuse, and violence that catalyzed such behavior to begin with. If this dark, historic reference doesn’t sober you to the truth, try out “Viaggio,” it builds to quite the ripper.

Mary Bell Bellatrix Boadicea LP

Grunge-infused feminist punk by way of Paris, France, with definite notes of BIKINI KILL, SLEATER-KINNEY, and similar bands of the American Northwest riot grrrl scene. It’s tough to paint this group with too broad a brush genre-wise; there are moments on this record that recall late ’70s punk and ’80s new wave, too. Moods range from playful to ferocious to introspective. At a solid fourteen songs, it’s clear this band has a lot to communicate with this record, and I think they succeed in that.