In a series called Sounds Northern, Paul Davies shines a spotlight on Northern musicians and bands to watch out for. This week it’s Dead Naked Hippies.
Leeds trio Dead Naked Hippies have been gaining a reputation for sharp, visceral sounds to file alongside the likes of Savages and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their three recent singles build upon their self-titled debut EP last year and exemplify the lyrical prowess of front-woman, Lucy Jowett.
“The lyrics are a release for me after personally facing a difficult past year,” she says. “It’s the most honest we’ve ever been. A lot of my writing revolves around my own struggles with mental health, and as a young woman facing modern society.”
Latest single Young Male Rage examines gender norms and, romping in at just over three minutes, it’s a grunge-tinged slap to the face that will startle and refresh with its high energy and high drama.
Jowett explains that the song is about “the conditioning we subject our children to from a young age in the values we instil and in particular the idea of male dominance and the toxic effect it can have. We wanted to flip this on its head and project it from the female voice.”
Rare, about the struggle of self-love and self-acceptance, was released in early autumn and is more instant, with a bit more groove and an anthemic chorus. Meanwhile, Guillotine shows a slower side, a building number that is no less cutting due to the raw recording process, free of any overdub polish or razzamatazz.
“Guillotine is an exploration of grief,” Jowett says. “It’s the fine line between wanting to retaliate to someone who has caused you hurt versus choosing to cut out the dead weight they have created in your life.”
With Jowett leading their vision through lyrics, artwork and merchandise, the band are a positive breath of fresh air in using their art to confront personal and wider issues. Jowett’s blog post back in June is a perfect example of their honesty and willingness to share and to encourage others who are experiencing the same things.
Images by Andrew Benge