Premiere: Strawberry Moon Find Punk Edge & Societal Insight In “Polly Pocket World”

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Surrounded by a ceaseless stream of distractions and obligations, creating the opportunity to pause and contemplate the world can feel like an uphill battle. Juggling constant scandals, alerts, and issues can be mentally taxing, while the daily grind of managing responsibilities often leaves little opportunity for reflection within the routine of work and sleep. This grind, this relentless struggle as it were, inevitably fosters bitterness, shaping a cynical outlook that oscillates between casual derision and deliberate contempt. We ridicule those who invest in trends or frivolities, all the while secretly yearning for connection and solace. We mock those who conform to outdated norms and condoned injustices, yet empathize with the belief that individual efforts will never be enough for substantial change. It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting. It’s demoralizing. And it sets the stage for an ideal punk tirade–something roaring sensations Strawberry Moon are ready to deliver with biting wit and scorn.

In their latest single, “Polly Pocket World,” the band delivers an incisive creed that delves into various themes depending on the verse or tone. With a critical eye and contemptuous glare, they explore superficiality, escapism, and exploitation, crafting a song that bites with both conviction and creativity on multiple levels. At the heart of it all is a flawless pop melody, infused with the ideal punk edge—both fuzzy and sharp, creating a blend that is equally rousing and infectious. This is propelled by a thunderous rhythm section and a powerful vocal howl, making the song a triumph in their flourishing catalog as well as Richmond’s own storied punk canon. Out everywhere on Friday, June 21st via Sockhead Records, The Auricular is proud to premiere this smash hit a day early with an exclusive stream below followed by insight into its nuanced commentary.


Since dropping their full-length album, Habitual Creatures, in 2022, Strawberry Moon has established itself as one of Richmond’s sharpest punk acts. Their lyrics are incisive, cutting, and consistently supported by a gritty rock sound that’s raw and energetic, yet undeniably captivating. On “Polly Pocket World,” the band debuts as a quintet for the first-time on a recording, with Christian Noonan taking over drumming duties from TJ Meade, who now contributes as a guitarist, riffing alongside guitarist Liam McElroy and bassist Gray Stephenson. Fronting the charge is Katie Bowles, whose distinctive melodic vocals intensify the band’s already potent sound from piercing to outright searing. Armed with a ferocious new drumbeat and additional fiery strings, the band ignites on this track, delivering their most nuanced commentary yet.

The song operates on multiple levels, blending the the allure of escapism with a cautious critique of materialism, while grappling with the harsh realities of exploitation—all toxic outcomes of the seductive yet oppressive late-stage capitalism in which we reluctantly participate. Within this system, we function as mere cogs, utilized for singular purposes and discarded once deemed obsolete. Faced with this stark reality, we often seek solace in familiar interests: television, music, or even childhood toys. However, these comforts transcend mere coping mechanisms, often offering an artistic or even transformative perspective on the world. Pretty dolls don’t worry about paying rent or insurance premiums, so why should we? They don’t succumb to existential dread or monotonous routines; they exist for enjoyment and spontaneity… so why can’t we?

It may sound idealistic, but in an aspirational way that strengthens our resolve in facing the micro-aggressions and blatant injustices of the world. If these dolls, these relics of ’90s pop culture, can withstand the perils of childhood play as well as the isolation of adult storage, then surely we can too. While they may initially appear as materialistic puppets shaped by savvy marketing, they have the potential to transcend those commercial roots. In 2023, the Barbie movie became a cultural touchstone, unexpectedly sparking an avalanche of discourse on empowerment, inclusion, and equality. Inspiration can emerge unexpectedly, and once it does, it’s crucial to embrace and champion it, regardless of its origin, because you never know where the next breakthrough will originate in our society. For Strawberry Moon, it happened to be another Mattel brand that sparked their creative edge. While the outcome differs from Greta Gerwig’s work (and is considerably shorter in duration), it still provides a distinctive perspective that leads to something meaningful and lasting.

Musically, the band rises fully to the occasion. Bowles’ vocal performance is invigorating and acerbic, complemented and intensified by the tight instruments clashing in melodic fury in the background. The guitar duo of Meade and McElroy is exceptionally rich in the mix, drenching themselves in hard strums and flowing riffs, while also ensuring the song’s signature hook resonates with crisp distortion. The rhythm section of Stephenson and Noonan are the understated heroes of this expedition, driving the music forward with raw energy that binds everything together in a pulsating rhythm. No matter where you direct your ear in this song, you’ll encounter exceptional notes, runs, or tones, all enhanced by its lyrical depth that adds an extra layer of brilliance, ultimately elevating the song into something truly spectacular.

“Polly Pocket World” marks Strawberry Moon’s first release of 2024, following their EP My Offering from late 2023, which featured standout singles like “Down In The Dirt” and “It’s Not About Me,” alongside the compelling tracks “Craigslist” and “My Offering.” Currently wrapping up their month-long residency at The Camel, the band has showcased their raw versatility across multiple performances, as they continue to tweak and adjust their sound to better capture the stirring discontent within each talented member. Now fully realized as a dynamic and compelling five-piece ensemble, continues to evolve with their sound, incorporating everything from daring post-punk to boisterous garage rock. Expect more outstanding music from the band in 2024, stemming largely from the productive winter recording session at Spacebomb studios that spawned the brazen energy of “Polly Pocket World.” This song, with its lyrically cavalier glow and fiercely majestic essence, firmly establishes Strawberry Moon as a leading punk act in Richmond–past, present, and future. Additional releases from the band will only be extra icing on the frosted revelery championed by this new outstanding single.

“Polly Pocket World” will be available on all streaming platforms via Sockhead Records starting Friday, June 21st, and you can pre-save it now by clicking here. The band is marking this occasion with two upcoming shows in Virginia thuis weekend: Dürty Nelly’s in Charlottesville on Friday, June 21st alongside Shagwüf, followed by their final residency show at The Camel on Sunday, June 23rd featuring Deathcat, VV, and the return of Warm Girls.

For the latest updates on Strawberry Moon, make sure to follow the band on Instragram and Facebook, or bookmark their Linktree by clicking here.


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