Tuesday, 26 February 2013
A New Life With New Girls Names
The New Life, the second LP from Belfast's Girls Names, is out today. I liked their debut Dead To Me, and the singles they released before and after always hinted at more - that these Irish kids could take the garage noise-pop that their contemporaries took for granted and embed it into their dreary climes, the northern province of isolation and regret (NOTE - I love Ireland - I've been there three times, and I endeavour to go many more. Historically and geographically, however, the places has copped a bit of a hiding. OK, now I'll continue...)
There has been a noticeable shift from the sunnier moments of previous releases on The New Life, instead opting for a cleaner production coupled with maudlin vocals, drab yet urgent (and often cyclical) instrumentation, and the lingering sense that nothing should, nor is, taken for granted. These tracks are different from past endeavours in many ways - most are in excess of five minutes, barely crack a smile, instead staring you down with a permanent sneer, spitting at your feet. They aren't antagonistic though - they want you to earn their respect. It's an apt title then - this is the equivalent of waking up one morning, discontent, and hitting the reset button.
Hooks are irrelevant (though still in evidence, as 'Occultation' clearly attests); the bass instead becoming the true sonic ringleader, with the jangle or explosion of guitars a counterpoint, an interjection, a pent-up exclamation. And the relentless closing title track, an eight minute behemoth that marches incessantly onwards, as fervently feverish as it is meticulous and slightly off-kilter. Already a favourite track of 2013 (although it technically came out as a single in October last year), it is the dark, forbidden yet oh so sweet icing on this remodelled cake.
The New Life found a home on Slumberland Records (the penny drops...) and you can get it here. Pre-order now and you can get it in clear vinyl alongside a rare 12" version of 'The New Life' track. This one will grow on you. And grow. And grow...
Girls Names - The New Life
Girls Names - Occultation