“It’s not really rage though, it comes across as if delivered with a grin rather than a sneer, as if they may actually enjoy what they’re doing rather than it serving as mere catharsis for their plethora of FWPs.” – Dara Higgins on Girl Band‘s France 98 EP.
Dublin’s Girl Band are back with the second release of their young careers. Lets be clear, Girl Band are not a girl band. B*witched they aren’t. Not at all, there’s fierce male energy off them altogether. Actually, there was a fierce male energy off B*witched now that I think of it, especially around the eyebrows. Sorry. Where was I? Oh yeah.
On You’re a Dog the guitar is a multi-layered, heavy beast. They create dynamism without doing very much, the guitar’s stopping and starting creating the rhythm. The drums and vocals create the drama, building up a release as the song goes on. Vocalist Dara’s voice starts off with a Cobain-a-like drawl, that somnambulistic thing he used to do when he was either out of his head or simply trying to mimic it, before wailing out the chorus. Busy At Maths starts with a small guitar line that again thunders into chunks of chords that lead the action, playing off the drums to good effect. The vocals are less affected, a spiral of catchy, angsty mantras. That Snake Conor Cusack (take that, Cusack) has the loud, quiet, loud dynamic with the by now recurrent trope of repletion in the vocals, off to a tee. Despite the heaviness, there’s a clarity to what they’re doing. Girl Band know what they want to sound like. This is generally a good thing.
France 98, a great title, lasts as long as sneeze, a somewhat rage infused noise romp. It’s not really rage though, it comes across as if delivered with a grin rather than a sneer, as if they may actually enjoy what they’re doing rather than it serving as mere catharsis for their plethora of FWPs. Second One employs a bass led melody, propelled by some clacking on the rim on the floor tom. Guitars bubble up in the background, coming in like the onset of a migraine. It might just be the stand out track. Handswaps again has the bass at the fore, but is a slower, darker number, which puts me in mind of some mid-eighties post-goth lads, like Xmal Deautchland or the like. Is Post-Goth a thing? It is now.
This is nascent music, as yet not completely fully formed. Girl Band have a way to go, in expanding their palette and developing their influences and instincts into something that is wholly them, but taking France 98 on its own merits, it’s pretty freaking good.