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We are Lady Parts S2, Stan review: hilarious, heartfelt and sharp

The all-Muslim punk band is back. With wildly different views on how they should look and sound, theres a chance they’ll never record a debut album.
We Are Lady Parts s2 Stan

Remember that electrifying moment you first heard a ferociously cool new band live in a sticky carpeted pub, diving headlong into their mind-melting sound? Or the bittersweet revelation when they level up to an ionic venue and you’re conscious of the ticking clock until they graduate to soulless stadiums? That feeling that it’ll never be quite this good again …

The strange conundrum of how much success is best also bothers the sisterhood of all-Muslim punk band We are Lady Parts in the second season of Polite Society director Nida Manzoor’s mosh-pit-surfing Stan show of the same name.

Adorkable Amina (Anjana Vasan), firecracker Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), ‘mumcore’ Bisma (Faith Omole), serious Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey) and their best mate/manager Momtaz AKA Taz (Lucie Shorthouse) have just got back from touring the length and breadth of the UK in the back of a beat-up van. They’ve had the time of their lives, solidifying their rock-solid bond as mates and machine-crushing musicians.

But they each have significantly different ideas about where and why they’re headed next, opening abundantly dramatic cracks in this hilarious, heartfelt and sharp as series before Lady Parts can even record their debut, never mind crash into notorious second album syndrome.

>We are Lady Parts S2. Image: Stan.

The tour only mustered enough money for food, digs and petrol on the road, with just about enough left over for two days in the studio. Is that enough time to lay down new tracks they all can get behind? Highly unlikely in the case of Saira, who has no intention of bowing down to ‘the man’ by sacrificing politics to make radio-palatable music that will secure more gigs – something Taz is struggling to do.

Saira seethes at the sell-out move of doing ‘It’s Britney, bitch’ covers at weddings, but is tempted by the promise of a recording deal with their dream producer – Anil Desai’s impeccably named Dirty Mahmood – dangled by Lydia Leonard’s headstrong band manager, Clarice. Saira’s muddy waters on this front lead to a genuinely startling scary movie moment that will make you jump out of your seat and take notice.

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We are (discordant) Lady Parts

If Saira’s courting of the big time, while simultaneously professing to be anti-establishment seems off, then everyone’s a bit out of tune this time around. Breaking up the band is a classic hit, after all. Her jumping at Clarice’s offer, with an alarming amount of strings attached, leads to a secretly wounded Taz stepping back and going her own way.

Now-Doctor of microbiology Amina professes to be in her ‘villain era’, but remains reliably sweet. Still, she manages to raise the heckles of her fellow band members by swooning over sappy Don Maclean-playing Billy (Jack Riddiford). He’s mates with their roadie Ahsan (Zaqi Ismail), who’s cursing that he friend-zoned her last season in a cute rom-com subplot. Ayesha snipes that Billy’s only prettier than Ahsan because of patriarchal white supremacist structures, and she’s none too keen on Amina’s ‘basic girl-power’ song ideas either. It’s hard to deny they’re more Taylor Swift than Poly Styrene.

Ayesha’s got her own stuff going on. Loved up with rich new girlfriend Laura (Anna Tolstoy), whose parents offer their fancy country house for the band to try out new sounds, she’s also wrangling her resistance over coming out to her family. It’s a roadblock for Laura, whose parents are ostensibly lovely, but radiate a little bit of Get Out energy.

And if Bisma felt like the least fleshed-out character last season, then Manzoor and her Muslim women-led writing room flip it into one of this season’s strongest strands as she tackles the extra layers of oppression Black women face within her religious community. Wanting to break free, she gets her hair braided and wrestles with possibly ditching her hijab, leading to a show highlight moment with daughter Imani (Edesiri Okepnerho).

All this and the next generation’s already snapping at Lady Parts’ heels. TikTok-amplified Gen Z band Second Wife – ‘fuck, that’s good’ Lady Parts all agree about the name – have covered their break-out hit ‘Bashir with the Good Beard’ and are way savvier about cutting through and cashing in. Which provokes both unbridled professional rivalry and a determination not to do other women down. And then there’s the legendary Meera Syal as their foremother Sister Squire, a one record-wonder who never got the opportunity to be out and proud about her Muslim identity and damns them not to dare resile from it.

With six snappy, half-hour episodes, Manzoor once again proves that getting to the point quicker doesn’t make a show any less spiky, for all We Are Lady Parts’ zany moments of fourth-wall-breaking fun. Just like punk rock, it’s a sonic blast.

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Season 1 and 2 of We are Lady Parts are available to stream on Stan

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4 out of 5 stars

We are Lady Parts Season 2

Actors:

Anjana Vasan, Sarah Kameela Impey, Faith Omole, Lucie Shorthouse, Juliette Motamed, Edesiri Okepnerho, Zaqi Ismail, Anil Desai, Lydia Leonard , Anna Tolstoy, Jack Riddiford

Director:

Nida Manzoor

Format: TV Series

Country: UK

Release: 31 May 2024

Available on:

Stan, 6 Episodes