September Girls’ Dark Storm
Two years after their formation, Dublin-based gloom rockers September Girls have released their debut, Cursing the Sea. A collection of uptempo, minor-key tracks, Sea keeps things short and to the point: most tracks are under three minutes. Just enough time to comfortably wallow without drowning.
The Girls have a dark ’60s sound, the bad side of the acid trip, complete with hypnotizing organs a la the Doors, if the Doors were also part Smiths and part Bauhaus. Their dour spirit can be attributed to a love gone wrong, a betrayal, a cheat, a gossip, all of whom receive their due. None of the songs veer too far from this, the Girls’ stylistic center, but the benefit of establishing their distinct identifiable sound outweighs the occasional feeling of repetition that can follow from track to track.
With the vocals low in the mix and the fuzzed guitars and bass up front, every song has a lo-fi feel, as if heard through a wall or from down a well. “Left Behind” uses a faraway echoey vocal in harmonies layered over a rumbling tempo for a hunted, haunting feel used again in “Green-Eyed.” The loose jangle of “Heartbeats” embraces garage pop where “Ships” goes full gloom with grungy drums and bass driving the boat. The surprise of the album is the catchy “Someone New,” a spirited and fun track that shares some DNA with the best of go-go.
Cursing the Sea is a mission statement. This is what September Girls does and the band does it well. You’re either on board or you’re not. The exciting part will be to see how the band expands or morphs the sound — if they do at all — in their sophomore release.