22 Oct 2015

Girl Band / Holding Hands With Jamie (album review)


Since the pummelling singles Lawman and Why They Hide The Bodies Under My Garage, as well as infamously off the hook live shows, Dublin noise outfit Girl Band have been one the whole world's most exciting bands. Now, a year or two on from those killer singles, here's their debut; Holding Hands With Jamie. The instant gratification of the singles is long gone, because this is a very challenging listen, but ultimately this is the quintessential punk album to take from 2015.

Pears For Lunch has everything that's great about Girl Band in abundance; lyrics (about wanking to Top Gear, etc) that are pretty dark but make you laugh, throttling guitar sounds, and the motorik assault on the drum kit that makes their live shows incredible. And that track; maybe you can take a breath or two at the start, and at one of the bits where Kiely mutters "I look crap with my top off", but ultimately you don't get anything remotely close to a break from the all out sonic wailing. 

But the rest of the album, give or take, is just as brutal. There's an 8 minute long one called Fucking Butter, which switches it up between frenzied, on edge yelping, lyrics about people buttering Nutella toast, and one of the most all over-yet-still mesmeric song structures I've ever heard. Oh, and there's a bit that sounds like an even more depraved version of Radiohead's National Anthem, where Dara gives it big'un about "petit poi", which as far as I'm aware is some kinda pea. 

Another highly lethal dinner-slinger is the lead single, Paul, which has a really ominous bassline humming along in the background, promising a hectic breakdown of hazardous Girl Band thrash. For its entire duration, Paul is just one 7 minute caterwaul of sounds that are energetic, charged, and just plain frightening.

There are some mellower moments on the album - kinda. In Plastic has that kinda weezing, sighing quality that tracks like Back To The Bolthole have, and Texting An Alien has a kind of spoken-word-calm-before-the-Fucking-Butter-storm quality to it, which is a nice break from the rest of it.

But don't be too fooled. For the duration of the record, despite the whack song titles, empty band name, and lyrics about wanking, ABBA and little peas, this album is just one hectic, white knuckle ride that - whilst it could be even more apocalyptic with reference to their live shows - is just brilliant from start to finish...

9.2/10

(written by calum cashin)