The Intro

'More punks in politics!': Mvll Crimes disturb the peace on The Intro

The band performs songs from its EP, You Embvrrvss Me.

The band performs songs from its EP, You Embvrrvss Me

Lead singer-songwriter Jillian Clair, who uses she and they pronouns, is bent over leaning into the camera head on. They are singing into a microphone in their left hand and have straight, dark brown, shoulder-length hair with bangs, and are wearing large glasses, a white sweater with markings on the arms, and red track shorts. Bassist Laurie McColeman is visible in the background. She has shoulder-length wavy dark blond hair and is wearing a blue top and playing the bass guitar.
Post hardcore band Mvll Crimes fuses the personal and political on its newest release. (Courtesy of Andrew Alba)

Screaming on the inside just doesn't feel as good as letting it all out. London-based post-hardcore band Mvll Crimes (it's pronounced "mall') knows it's easy to be discouraged and overwhelmed right now, and what it's like to be "made to feel hopeless given the current climate."

"I'm so grateful to have an outlet where I can kind of address some of those feelings and also feel like I'm sort of doing something about them in some small way," lead vocalist Jillian Clair told CBC Music's Damhnait Doyle, host of The Intro

Clair and their fellow Mvll Crimes bandmates (Laurie McColeman on bass, Patrick Briggs on guitar and Evan Martin on drums) have poured all of those feelings into their newest EP, You Embvrrvss Me, but it's not just rage, frustration and sorrow. There's humour, wit and satire as well, as you can see in the band's dynamic performance, streaming above. 

On one song, "Checkin' Out," Mvll Crimes contemplate what happens when fulfilling the so-called middle-class dream isn't actually fulfilling. Unpacking homogenous benchmarks of social success and conformity is just one way in which the band is agitating against the status quo. Mvll Crimes are holding everyone accountable, especially themselves, as they do with the first song in their set: "Vrguing with Strvngers" ("Arguing with Strangers"). It was inspired by Clair's own pastime: arguing with strangers on the internet. 

"It is my catnip," Clair said. "I cannot leave it alone. Depending on the topic, I gotta get in there. However, I've modified my strategy a little bit recently. I used to invest, like, days at a time: 'I'm just going to argue until this person will obviously see how correct I am!' Right now, I'll get in there and say my piece and I get out. And I'll stop following the comments so I don't have to pay it any mind."

'An institution that requires dismantling'

The band's second song, "Bootlicker's Delight (Resprisvl)," was actually written after a long day of arguing with strangers on the internet. 

"I was trying to change some hearts and minds about why defunding the police is actually a really awesome idea, and minimal to no success, as discussions on the internet often are," Clair said. "But I was really steamed and instead of just letting it ruin my day, I just started writing down satirical lyrics.You know, just what is the day-to-day of someone who is a total bootlicker but also, maybe, literally enjoys licking boots? Like, what would that life be like? And thus, 'Bootlicker's Delight' was born!"

Defunding police is one of the areas of activism currently most important to Clair. As they see it, "Modern policing ... is the extension of white supremacy and protecting property and breaking up organized labour and, honestly, just fulfilling the whims of the wealthy and the elite. So, as a punk band, I think the police is a pretty visible symbol of an institution that requires dismantling."

There's also been a long history of punk bands attempting to disrupt political systems externally and, eventually, also from within. At this point, Clair isn't committing to a future in politics themself. But, "there are things we can do to raise the quality of living for the most vulnerable and I think that is where politics should be directing the most effort. The tide lifts all boats.... More punks, in general, should be involved in politics."


CBC Music's The Intro spotlights emerging musicians across the country through interviews and live performances, and airs on CBC GemYouTube and CBCMusic.ca/TheIntro. Keep an eye out for new episodes every second Tuesday.

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