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Girl Band - The Talkies (Album Review)

Friday, 27 September 2019 Written by Craig Howieson

Girl Band make music that reflects an anxious existence. Far from being a space in which to retreat, their songs smash with a desolate rage, channelling inner torment and the desperation of their surroundings.

Combining the industrial rock of Daughters, the abrasive experimentation of Big Black and the hallucinogenic paranoia of some god-forsaken ‘90s rave, the group create exposed snapshots of hidden anguish.

‘The Talkies’ is the Irish band's second album. Primarily recorded at the stately Ballintubbert House, the band fully utilised their surroundings, completing multiple takes in different rooms to drag the building's character into the recordings. The resulting atmosphere lurches with a furious presence that syncs with the metallic echo of Adam Faulkner’s bruised drum kit.

Like an attack of anxiety, the oppressive racket of ‘The Talkies’ can be overwhelming. The panicked breaths on opener Prolix make for an uncomfortable introduction, while the car alarm intro to Laggard is close to nerve-shredding.

Things get dark and confusing—a tangled web to untie—and it is only after repeated listens that the album slowly reveals its secrets. Going Norway and Prefab Castle clash and churn but amid the chaos the group settle on their own interpretation of a groove. Emerging from the rubble these feel like moments to be cherished, and they surpass anything they have written to date.   

Dara Kiely’s lyrics lean on the wildly surreal and suggested, with his sometimes confounding wit rising audibly above the wreckage, but he is equally effective when he forgoes words altogether. On Amygdala, set to a discordant collapse of guitars and tyrannical drumming, he sounds like he is trying to cough up his demons in an exorcism of industrial proportions.

Couch Combover is perhaps the crystallizing moment of ‘The Talkies’, showcasing everything Girl Band do best. A dysfunctional groove falls into deplorable white noise while Kiely’s vocals range from a poetically mumbled cadence to a guttural scream.

There are few acts who can tap into such dark recesses and create something brutally visceral that the listener will still want to revisit. And yet, to spend time in the company of something so unapologetically caustic and raw is to feel not quite so alone. As we find ourselves facing our darkest fears and fumbling for the light switch, records like ‘The Talkies’ will soundtrack our personal traumas as the world around us burns.

Girl Band Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat November 02 2019 - MANCHESTER Manchester Academy 2
Tue November 05 2019 - LONDON Electric Ballroom
Fri November 22 2019 - DUBLIN Vicar Street
Sat November 23 2019 - DUBLIN Vicar Street

Click here to compare & buy Girl Band Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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