“Going Norway” is oddly rhythmic and hypnotically jarring — two paradoxes that Girl Band have mastered and used to set themselves apart.
Listen: “Going Norway” – Girl Band
A lot has changed since Girl Band sparked a whole new generation of Irish punks to pick up their guitars and reinvent the genre. In the four years since their debut Holding Hands With Jamie, we’ve seen Fontaines DC and Murder Capital drop debuts that have landed them on end-of-year best album lists and acts like THUMPER take huge steps towards doing the same. To continue this trend, BATS are back with a release next month and Bitch Falcon are in the studio.
And now Girl Band have returned.
Their new album, The Talkies, is due out on September 27th and it’s just as genre and mind-bending as you’ve come to expect. It’s controlled chaos, with layers and layers of richly distorted, combative sounds that shouldn’t blend together but somehow do. It’s oddly rhythmic yet hypnotically jarring — two paradoxes that Girl Band have mastered and used to set themselves apart.
“Going Norway,” their second single, is the classic Girl Band sound evolved. Their ability to deconstruct and rebuild in such interesting ways is evident from the start, with the tempo changes and the introduction—or removal—of instruments pulled off with surgical precision. And therein is the key to Girl Band’s success: For all the mayhem, chaos, and raucous energy, it’s equal parts methodical and controlled. The masters of deconstruction and construction have a blueprint that only they may understand, and they execute it perfectly.
Beginning with snares and toms, the dark mumble of Dara Kiely comes in slurred and slow. It doesn’t stay that way for long. The introduction of screeching guitars and an intermittent bass creates an almost swirling sonic feeling—you feel like the song is revolving around you.
What completes the song, however, is the constant, almost manic, ramblings of Kiely. His mimicry of Alan Duggan’s guitars creates an almost trance-like space for you to get lost in. They rise and fall so effortlessly together that you’re left looking for the magician’s swinging pocket watch.
Watch “Going Norway” – Girl Band
The lyrics are specifically written not to deliver any message but instead play with the cadence and understanding of language itself. It’s the same decontextualized approach we saw with Holding Hands With Jamie, where the meaning is so far removed that the lyrics are essentially another percussive instrument. “The songs, for me, can be up to interpretation. It’s rarely about specific ideas and more about the process of dovetailing lyrics to fit the music” Kielly says about the album.
An Elegant/ Room Elephant
Tusks in Brag-age/ Chomps Trunks the Age
At Least Enough / At Least at All
Mechanical Boil, Ball, Boil, Bull, Ball…
And Then Came In / A Pelican
With Medicine Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball
His pained screams and howls convey the meaning of the song more than the lyrics, taking you to an emotional plain that the lyrics can’t.
While each of these parts—the squealing guitars, the bombastic drumming, the percussive bass, and the sporadic chugging vocals—alone amount to little more than noise, when combined as only Girl Band can it creates a cacophony that stirs the soul. Their sound goes beyond the understandable and instead hits on an emotional level most bands can’t touch—but most bands aren’t Girl Band.
? © Rich Gilligan