13 Apr 2015
Girl Band / The Early Years (EP review)
It's little more than a compilation of early material piled together for US release, but The Early Years is an exemplary piece of work that shows Ireland's best (and one of the world's finest) upcoming band's high points. But more than just a comp, it's Girl Band's first release on the Rough Trade label, so you know that The Early Years is just the tip of what will seem a magnificent iceberg in a few years.
Opening proceedings, track 1 of 5 is last year's Lawman, a track which revolves around a surging, effect's pedal driven pulse that - like the most of their material, and their own brand of punk rock - combines elements of no wave noise rock with dancey techno. It's visceral, punk rock climax is reached when frontman Dara Kiely's voice screams 'HE STARTS EVERY SENTENCE WITH/I KNOW I'M NOT A RACIST BUT' (or maybe 'BOY'). Supporting that, a little later down the EP are other singles The Cha Cha Cha and De Bom Bom, which, as the name implies, don't take themselves too seriously (and are less dramatic than Lawman) but are still premium examples of Girl Band's sound - even though the former is only 30 seconds long.
The highlight on The Early Years, that should leave any fan of noise rock, shoegaze, no wave, punk rock, or just music at all recoiling in a shivery outbreak of goosebumps is the 8 minute long Why they hide their bodies under my garage, which is actually a cover of obscure horror-techno outfit Blawan's. It has it all, a vicious whirlpool of feedback in it's introduction, all the guitar feedback in the world, and sharp, jagged stabs of rabid electronica. But maybe, more than all of that is the fact it only has one lyric - the titular lyric - which is repeated over and over in a frenzied bout of ever-increasing anger that hammers the listener into the ground like a tent peg. It's ambitious, but it totally works, and armed with the bonkers video that the 4-piece put up in support of this EP, it's bloody terrifying in that way that brilliant stuff always is.
So overall - yes yes, it's a compilation of earlier stuff, a bit of a limited, US only, vinyl 'ICYMI' for the noise-rock fan that likes to dance, but it also works the band's best 5 songs to date into a more than coherent order that's incredible to listen to, whether you're a first time Girl Band listener, or you're a restless champion of the band like 6music's Tom Ravenscroft. It's a shame that it's US only, and so limited, but The Early Years sets the scene for Girl Band to release some more brilliant music.
The Early Years is out 21st April via ROUGH TRADE.
(written by calum cashin)