Petra und der Wolf - Surface!

9 songs
36:28 minutes
***** ****


Petra und der Wolf, whose name is a feminist pun on Prokofiev’s fairy tale, is a duo from Vienna consisting of musicians Petra Schrenzer (guitar, vocals) and Aurora Hackl Timon (drums, saxophone). Their lyrics deal with feminist and queer topics, which starts with the album title Surface!, a word standing for the uppermost layer of something and for rising up. As revendicated at this year’s Women’s Global Strike, we need a systemic change where all genders are treated equally.

The two women were teenagers during the Nineties, a decade whose music left a lot of traces with them. Starting right with the opener The Wheel, you get the impression to be listening to PJ Harvey. But also other important artists from back then, like Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Dinosaur Jr and the grunge scene, seem to have influenced the duo. Their sound is kept deliberately raw, and still there is a lot of detail within the songs on which they laboured for five years. Petra und der Wolf prefer to work as a duo, as experience has shown that they are at their most creative in the constellation. If you told me that more musicians were at work, I’d believe it too. The instruments are tuned deeply so that you don’t notice that there is no bass guitar. The saxophone is used rather sparingly, except on the hypnotising Helium which is my personal highlight on the album. Another gloomy track is Flies which surprises with a catchy chorus. The two musicians can also let it all out, as on the truly angry Where I Start Is Where I End and Just For Kings before the album quietly ends with Machine Made.

Surface! is a rather short album that I advise you to listen to more than once to always discover new details. The two musicians skilfully combine noise rock, grunge, a little pop and catchiness in a marvellous way. Those who miss the unbridled sound of the Nineties should be delighted by this Austrian duo. Petra und der Wolf’s Surface! is one of the best rock albums of this still young year.

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