The Accolade sounds like a typical female rock band: Its members have teased hair and facial piercings, and their clothing shocks passers-by as they tell a New York Times reporter about their new song with lyrics about a failed relationship. But the Accolade’s home base is conservative Saudi Arabia, and its members have turned taboo-breaking up to 11.
Their native city of Jidda may be slightly less strict than other parts of the country—the girls can get away with wearing their abayas open to reveal jeans and shirts underneath—but their music remains underground. If the Accolade starts playing gigs, it’ll have to be inside private compounds. The religious police, while more lenient than a decade ago, haven’t gone away.