Reviewed by: Stephen Krock
“I’m gonna yell it out / I’m gonna scream it out,” Kathleen Hanna, leading lady of The Julie Ruin, proclaims on one of the many awesome tracks to the band’s debut album, Run Fast. And you’ll want to do just that as their infectious energy pumps through your eyes and into your veins. With a front man hailing from Bikini Kill and indie darlings Le Tigre, it’s easy to expect badassness. But with a supporting cast including the co-founder of notorious drag duo Kiki & Herb, a fellow former Bikini Kill member, and a major contributor to the Rock Camp for Girls movement, this is a show you’d want to watch all day.
It’s Riot Grrrl punk perfection from beginning to end. The foot stomping, pelvis thrusting “Kids in NY” and “Cookie Road” have a distinct B-52s touch to them. But a B-52s that could kick your butt into next Tuesday. And the latter track has a killer piano rock segment that begs you to boogie. Kenny Mellman’s deep and sexy vocal assistance is fantastic when paired with the Hanna’s raucous pixie wails, particularly on “South Coast Plaza.” The 80s laced “Girls Like Us” is spectacularly fun while hammering away at that glass ceiling without being overtly messagey. “Girls like us pick up the hot handles and burn our hands and we get over it.” Great. Also, great are the album’s surprisingly tender moments. “Just My Kind” being Hanna’s loving tribute to her Beastie Boy husband. And the title track having that epic, fist raising “Don’t You Forget About Me” rolling credits moment as the set comes to a close.
Run Fast is a seamless blend of punk past, present, and (hopefully) future. It kicks off with speed and never loses momentum. Every song is essential. There’s not much else to say except: Yes. This.