Single Review: UNITED GIRLS ROCK’N’ROLL CLUB

Last Friday, CHAI and Hinds released “UNITED GIRLS ROCK’N’ROLL CLUB,” an invigorating collaboration between 8 female musicians recorded in Madrid shortly before the pandemic. For CHAI, it is an addition to the string of energetic singles released in 2020. For Hinds, it follows the release of their most experimental and most diversely orchestrated album to date, The Prettiest Curse.

CHAI is a four-piece all-female group from Nagoya, Japan whose style shatters traditional definitions of Japanese pop music. They describe themselves as a New Exciting Onna (Japanese for woman) band and center their music around a “Neo Kawaii” ethos that embraces body positivity and liberation of women. Their music is both challenging and familiar, drawing influences from punk and electronic pop music alongside experimental Japanese groups. Their songs are sung in English and Japanese, and weave social ideas into archetypal J-pop structures.

Hinds, in contrast, has built a following with their unique indie/garage rock sounds from Madrid, Spain. Like CHAI, they are a bilingual all-female quartet, but draw more influence from the paradigm of Western rock groups. Their music descends from 60s garage pop, the Velvet Underground, and the Clash while drawing influence from contemporaries like Mac DeMarco and Ty Segall. Their latest album, The Prettiest Curse was an artistic lashing-out against pressure from management and labels to sell more tickets and records. 

“UNITED GIRLS ROCK’N’ROLL CLUB” is an electrifying and empowering collaboration of musical cultures formed across continents. Hinds brings their solid indie rock instrumentals while CHAI provides the energetic vocal harmonies and electronic textures that make this late-summer single shine. Although divided by continental boundaries, these groups represent the movements of fourth-wave feminism on an international stage, particularly within the music industry. Whereas third-wave feminism was ushered in by Riot Grrrl bands, Hinds and CHAI’s collaboration is a positive step to empower women musicians of all classes, races, and nationalities in the 21st century. Individually and cohesively, CHAI and Hinds are champions of musical intersectionality and upheave status quo by asking in three languages: “How does it feel to be a girl in a band?” You can watch the UNITED GIRLS ROCK’N’ROLL CLUB music video filmed in pre-pandemic Madrid here:

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