Girl Band have a formula. Abrasive, raucous energy with apathetic deadpan vocals added on top – the formula is a winning one.
Holding Hands With Jamie, Girl Band’s eagerly awaited debut album from Rough Trade Records takes this winning formula and concentrates it into a 38 minute whirlwind of crazed guitar sounds and climactic, cathartic shrieks, whipping the listener into a frenzy.
In the heavily distorted ‘Paul’, the seven minute centrepiece of this album, they veer between controlled tension which is then unfurled by bassist Daniel Fox and propelled towards a violently epic explosion of sound. Bob Gallagher’s music video for ‘Paul’ also acts as a tragically unsettling visual accompaniment to the single, addressing the concept of depression and entrapment.
“I look crap with my top off” drawls Kiely bleakly in the cataclysmic single ‘Pears for Lunch’, one of few numbers that offer vaguely discernible lyrics, which can be one of Girl Band’s few cons. When one does manage to catch a few coherent lines here and there across the album the overwhelming sense is that this is a work of released anguish and reformation. There is no pause for breath from the opening ‘Umbongo’ to the final number ‘The Witch Dr’. The insane projection of sound emanating from this Dublin four-piece is unending and leaves you hungry for more as the final howls fade with the conclusion of Holding Hands With Jamie.
Make no mistake, this work of controlled chaos is not for everyone (perfectly suited for fans of The Fall, Cerebral Ballzy, Iceage), but that’s part of Girl Band’s appeal. They don’t cater for the masses, but what they do create is a work of upending noise punk bliss.