A Ferocious and Deadly Debut
Upon first glance at the post-punk group Girl Band, it’s obvious that they are anything but a band of girls. The quartet from Dublin has spent the last four years laying low, playing a few gigs and developing their unique brand of no-wave sludge-punk. Although their live shows are somewhat sparse, their intense and ardent performances have solidified them as a group that deserves attention, with experimental instrumentation from guitarist Alan Duggan and psychotic episodes from frontman Dara Kiely. For a band whose frantic and fervent live performances set them apart, it’s a wonder how that energy is captured on a record. It’s taken them awhile to get to this point, but it’s been worth the wait. Girl Band’s debut album Holding Hands with Jamie is set to release September 25, 2015.
Up until now, Girl Band has put out a few EPs, but this is their first full length LP, weighing in at 9 tracks. Holding Hands with Jamie is a violent mash of controlled chaos that somehow remains structured in a wall of sound and hard hitting percussion. The opening track, “Umbongo,” is a forceful start, introducing the album with a high-pitched, squealing guitar convulsing to and fro before erupting into a storm of percussion. The group utilizes stop-start mechanics in a few of their tracks, creating contrast and moments of uncertainty. In some points of the album, it sounds as if the band put an old condenser mic on the floor and just started jamming, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. “In Plastic” and “The Last Riddler” exhibit a DIY sense of noise and punk rock that is a refreshing change of pace in a world of over produced garbage.
Dara Kiely’s uncanny lyricism and distressed, screaming vocals are an intriguing aspect of the album. Kiely clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously, with half of his lyrics being jokes, or even just nonsensical blaring about food. In “Fucking Butter,” Kiely reaches a high point screaming “Nutella, Nutella, Nutella!” describing an atypical trip to the store. Yet, despite all the jokes, Kiely’s lyrics range from humor to insecurities, fear and paranoia.
As far as a standout track on the album, look no further than “Paul.” The track builds momentum on top of a persistent drumbeat before exploding into a hectic mess of sound that one can only assume is a guitar and a bass.
With four years under their belt, Girl Band’s first full-length album was well worth the wait. Holding Hands With Jamie achieves a seemingly impossible feat of capturing the ferocious and tortured nature of Girl Band.