Missing the thrill of great gigs? IDESTROY are here to help fill the void. ‘We Are Girls’, the Bristol band’s sublime debut album (out February 12, 2021) is an adrenaline-fuelled joyride that fizzes with the spirit of sweaty live shows.

Rife with swearing and sarcasm and steeped in camaraderie and attitude, ‘We Are Girls’ is a party-punk album made for moshpits - or, for now, pogoing at home. Dig deeper, however, and there’s sharp commentary in its ten spiky songs, from the ‘hands-off’ warning of punchy lead single ‘Petting Zoo’ to the title track’s ire at the obstacles faced by female musicians.

“I wanted the songs to address issues that are important to us,” says singer, guitarist and lead songwriter Bec Jevons. “The experiences we’ve had as an all-female band – turning up to play gigs and being asked for our tickets or being given shorter soundchecks than boys on a bill – had been on my mind for a while. It’s vital to me that the songs have meaning. Not least because it makes them more fun to perform.”

Riotous live shows are IDESTROY’s calling card. Since forming in 2015, the trio, who met as students at Bristol’s BIMM, have played more than 300 gigs across the UK, Europe and Asia, selling out shows in South Korea and multiple tours in Germany. Two acclaimed EPs arrived along the way – 2016’s ‘Vanity Loves Me’ and 2018’s ‘Pure Joy of Life’ – but ‘We Are Girls’ marks a significant step up. For the first time on record, their scorching singalongs sizzle with as much energy as the band on stage.

“We still love the EPs,” says bassist and backing vocalist Nicola Wilton-Baker, “but they never quite captured the energy we have live. This time we nailed it. Instead of the songs being mixed at different studios by outside producers, as in the past, we finished the album in-house, so to speak, and got exactly the sound we had in our heads.”

In-house meant Bristol’s West Street Studios, co-owned by drummer Jenn Hills and her husband, who masters for Sony. “We gave my husband our song G.O.D. and a Dream Wife track for reference,” says Jenn. “It was a test to see what he came up with – and he passed! When the three of us met up to listen, it was so exciting. We knew straight away that this was the sound we’d been searching for. Thankfully, he agreed to do the whole album.”

“And it only cost us a bottle of gin,” adds Bec. “Result!”

‘G.O.D.’ is the album’s snarling opener, about a falling out Bec had with a friend, which sets the fast-paced template for an album that lasts little over half an hour, but packs in everything from tales of touring and bouts of depression to sexism, Bec’s hypochondria and telling themselves off for dressing a mess. While the subject matter bounces back and forth from serious to silly, the energy never drops.

“The reason I write songs is to perform them,” says Bec, who cites Beth Ditto, Sleater-Kinney and ‘90s Riot grrrl artists for turning her on to rock. “That’s always been the fun of this for us – to play live as much and in as many different places as possible. We live for random adventures in weird parts of the world. Not knowing what’s coming next is the best part of being in a band.”

“One of our favourite ever gigs was at an oyster farm in France,” says Jenn. “We were searching for the site, blindly following the sat nav in the middle of nowhere and suddenly arrived at an oyster farm. No one had thought to tell us, but that made the show more special. The place was insane.”

IDESTROY’s adventures include playing their second ever gig at a festival in Spain and going down so well that they were invited back the following year to perform on the main stage. And selling out in South Korea, where they were invited to play at festival and pulled such a huge crowd that they decided to put on their own headline show. “And Nic passed out in the street outside the venue,” laughs Bec. “Jenn and I were stood there, holding her, with no idea what to do.”

“It was the heat!” insists Nicola. “I was struggling to eat and exhausted from running around handing out flyers. But it was worth it. We went over there not knowing what to expect and had one of the best weeks of our lives.”

IDESTROY was formed impromptu at a party, when a drunken Bec played Jenn some of the songs she’d been writing since the age of 16. Nic joined when the band’s original bassist quit. From the outset, their focus was on playing live, but last year, with a rare four weeks free from touring, Bec sat down to write a debut album and realised how much she had to say.

“We Are Girls was the first song I wrote, which is partly why it’s the album title,” says Bec. “It distils all the preconceptions and patronising attitudes we’ve endured as a female band. Being told to smile, being called cranky, people’s surprise when they discover how good we are."

“I see male bands getting more attention for no obvious reason. I’ve had people steal my ideas. We can be carrying our gear and still be mistaken for mates of the band. It’s amazing that this stuff still goes on, but it does and it makes me mad.”

‘Petting Zoo’ was another outlet for anger after Bec was groped twice in a matter of months, first on a hiking trip, next in a nightclub. “The club was the final straw,” says Bec. “A mixture of emotions overcame me - shock, anger, violation. Most startling was the confusion and helplessness I felt. What do you do in that situation? Petting Zoo is for everyone who’s had enough, who is tired of being leered at, sexualised and touched without consent.”

The only old song is live favourite 'Lemons', which has been re-recorded. Only a handful had been aired at gigs before the pandemic brought a halt to IDESTROY’s packed schedule in the spring, including the glam-rock stomp 'Sick Friend', about Bec’s hypochondria.

'Cheap Monday' is part ode to the now defunct clothing brand, part dig at Bec’s own sloppy dressing. 'Swim' captures the chaos of lives in turmoil, 'The Young and Wasted' explores squandered opportunities and 'Death Party' celebrates living life to the full, with a group of mates on mass backing vocals.

“I did question including a song about throwing a death party in the midst of a pandemic,” says Bec. “But it’s about living life to the max, grabbing every moment as it comes."

“The ending of the song was taken verbatim from the Darwin Awards, which are true stories about the strange ways people have died, doing stupid stuff like running up and down escalators. It sounds morbid, but it’s a silly celebration of life.”

Talking of silly, IDESTROY’s latest video, for 'Petting Zoo', captures the band are their daftest, performing and chasing each other through a forest wearing animal onesies. Bec is a zebra, Jenn a tiger and Nic a… badger?

“No, a lemur,” says Nic. “Don’t laugh. I borrowed it from my boyfriend. We’re clearly way too cool to own onesies!”

‘We Are Girls’ is released February 12, 2021 via CD Baby

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