“I’m not your little trophy / I’m not your prize to be won / My work for all your fun / Oh, oh, oh, no.”
Residing here on the eastern side of the North American continent, it is only natural that many of our postings feature music from artists in the Atlantic time zones. Of course, we love to hear from artists all over the Great North, and especially seek to provide more coverage to the western provinces, most notably those out there in the far reaches of the Pacific time zone. My mind was clearly being wiretapped, as no sooner than these thoughts crossed my mind did an email land in my inbox that demanded my attention with several enticing statements: “all-new,” “all-female,” “all-queer,” “indie-rock band,” and “debut single.” And in perfect time for Pride Month too….
Formed in Vancouver, BC (born out of the pandemic), Hyaenas are a four-piece guitars n synths variety of indie-rock band who burst onto the BC scene in an explosive sold-out performance alongside the iconic rock duo, The Pack AD. Comprised of Sophie Heppell (guitars/vocals), Luvia Petersen (synths), Jesse Robertson (bass), and Jen Foster (drums), this band demonstrate a palpable chemistry to easily convince you of having perhaps spent many years on the music circuit. Embodying the energy, ferocity, and spirit of the animal from which they have taken their name, Hyaenas immediately overload your senses with their catchy hooks and lyrics written through their queer-feminist lens that explore meaningful themes of acceptance, vigilance, a love of nature, witchcraft, and social justice. With “Little Trophy,” they pull you into a pocket of grit and groove, pairing punchy bass and drums with catchy melodies and crystalline harmonies.
“Take me to the forest / I’m knocking on wood / Just because you want to / Doesn’t mean that you should / You think you’ve got my whole world / But I think all can stay / Lose your grip and all the stars will fade to grey / I’m moving away.”
The opening cymbal crash and discreet, yet thumping bass lines paint a vivid scene immediately, luring the listener into their world, before adding synth to totally disorient your senses. Sophie’s vocals quickly follow, and are noticeably powerful, yet subdued – not what I imagined I’d find here, and much more than just another run-of-the-mill synth-rock sound. Offering powerful lyrics that rebel against the sexual objectification of women, here we find a narrative that unapologetically strips away the layers of the patriarchy, yet does so in a slow and steady, inoffensive manner. Nostalgia quickly kicks in for me, prompting fond memories of the post-punk grunge scene and the music of another all-female four-piece, L7 (saw them live in their prime) – when tracks such as “Everglade” and “Pretend You’re Dead” were frequently blasted from the car stereo. “Little Trophy” releases the same endorphin rush that I experienced almost three decades ago, but does so without the same levels of decibels and lyrical aggression.
It has been fun to witness the emerging new wave of all-female rock acts these last few years. Whether following in the footsteps of local contemporaries, such as the established BC indie-rockers FRANKIIE, or the internationally acclaimed band (and recent JUNO Award recipients), The Beaches, there is an abundance of talent out there now making waves. “Little Trophy” is a fabulous ‘first impression’ from Hyaenas, who are currently working with Vancouver producers Elisa Pangsaeng (Said The Whale) and Jesse Gander (The Pack AD) on their debut EP, set for release later this year. Hyaenas have very quickly earned our attention – how about yours?
“I’m not your little trophy / I’m not your prize to be won / My work for all your fun / Oh, oh, oh, no / I’m not your badge of honour / I’m not your accolade / Not a soul for you to save / Oh, oh, oh, no.”