Debut album time! Here’s Holding Hands with Jamie by Girl Band. Annoyingly enough, Girl Band are actually four Irish blokes. Probably irony or something. Still, they produce some raw, energetic noisy rock and post-punk which fits in nicely with the Rough Trade label they landed with.
Available on CD, LP and indies only yellow LP.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 21 September 2015
Here are four dudes who are clearly brazen intellectuals to have named themselves Girl Band, but anyway, the music: it’s as noisy as your favourite Chicago-based punk scene in its heyday, and the vocals are yelped like Shellac hanging out with Wolf Parade. ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’ is a nice collation of melodic punk song and furious, wiry guitar dirge, both usually played as if they’re the same thing (this is no post-hardcore: they don’t build the melody into a chorus after a long onslaught of dissonance, rather they let both fuck with each other at the same time).
I do love the way Girl Band approach a good hook: “In Plastic” could be a straightforward indie rock song, and to begin with it’s just that, shrouded in a few timely effects. But it threatens to turn into something worse, swirling with noise and thumping with a rhythm that feels like it could dislocate at any moment. This is a rare moment where aggression is a passenger rather than a driver, though, with the slurred vocals of “Pears For Lunch” accompanying scoured distortion and guitars with terrifyingly increased velocity.
The thing about Girl Band’s noise is that it is pop music, in so far as it’s truly enrapturing at its best: you get caught up with it, trapped in it, absorbed into its urgent movements. Listening to “The Last Riddler” is like being bounced around a room as a simple, one-note drumbeat carries a vocal that capsizes on itself. “Fucking Butter” uses discordance as its hook, telling a story over palm mutes and bursts of full-band explosion (their favourite thing: suddenly breaking into a climax and then removing it). In terms of their noisy ancestors, Girl Band are way speedier, taking the chunky parts of Shellac or the Jesus Lizard and carrying them away with hardcore fever. So... of course they’re fun. They're loud. They have to be, right?
9/10 Jeremy Customer review, 12th January 2016
Every time I really start to get bored with new music an album like this falls into my lap by a band like Girl Band. And makes me want to crank the stereo to 11 then put my fists through the wall in a cartoon like fashion, grab my neighbours by the scruff of their necks and violently embrace them and shake them all about. The sensation feels a bit like slamming your head in a bucket of ice water.
The first thing that appealed to me about this record is the pure don't give a fuck attitude of the music, particularly in the vocals and particularly on the track Pears for Lunch. It reminded me of the best qualities of Pissed Jeans.
In the midst of the pulverising seven mins that make up Paul you get a hint of the driving repetition of The Fall and the chaos of The Stooges. It's a potent mix.
On the opening track Umbongo the band sweeps the listener up in a maelstrom of noise and dissonant rhythms that reminded me a little of early Liars albums. On this song and through out the album on tracks like Fuck Butter and The Witch Dr. you get a taste of the beautiful noise of Lightning Bolt. All dream influences for me.
Despite these influences, make no mistake, Girl Band make this record their own. They cut their own unique path through these influences and have a brutal wonderful unique voice of their own. This is the band's debut album but they have been around for a while and it shows in the supreme confidence on show here. The band mixes noise, chaos and crunching guitars but keeps it all in a loose driving almost pop structure. The result above all else is fun. A pure primitive (sometimes sinister) fun. They spend the whole record balanced on the edge and it's contagious and spirit lifting and refreshing as an ice bath! Listen to this album loud enough and you too may be overcome with the desire to violently embrace your neighbours.
At the very least it will put a big loose grin on your face.
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- Holding Hands With Jamie by Girl Band
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