My good friend from Ireland has been raving about Girl Band for a while, and he had all the reason why. On The Early Years EP, Dublin’s best-kept secret compiled previously released tracks from out-of-print 7’’s for their first release on Rough Trade Records. The group is quickly making a name for themselves through their wildly intense shows, and I highly suggest you track down some of their live footage on the internet. With a title called “The Early Years”, hopefully we’ll be hearing from these Irish noise rockers for a long time to come.
The first track “Lawman” starts with pulsing drums, before bassist Daniel Fox comes in for the full stomping experience. From the scratchy guitars and Fox’s superb bass playing, the band sounds like a chainsaw on acid (but in a good way). Adding to the raw fury, shrieking frontman Dara Kiely’s anguished vocals make him the most energetic frontman Ireland’s had in ages. Drummer Alan Faulkner drives the song home, and the Death From Above 1979 influence is easy to hear with Girl Band providing some of the hardest hitting dance rock in years.
“De Bom”’s chop-fuzz opening sounds like an homage to their Dublin heroes My Bloody Valentine. Here, drummer Aland Faulner gives his standout performance of the EP amidst a scratchy wall of noise. After the shrill intensity of “De Bom”, “Love You” is the most melodic song on the EP. Here the band sounds like golden-era Sub Pop, with Dara Kiely sounding eerily similar to Mudhoney’s Mark Arm. The band’s influences spill through the EP, but it never sounds like mimicry, and this band will one day be able to hold their own against their idols.
The band’s sly cleverness is best displayed on their cover of UK techno producer Blawan’s “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?”. The EP’s centrepiece opens with a distortion thunderstorm, and if you’re not banging your head alone in your room to this song, you’re living wrong. The tension mounts through the track’s eight minutes, and half-way through explodes with pure energy. Girl Band has a talent for making absolutely haunting music sound fun, and you’re never sure if you should run for your life or surrender to dance.
If there’s one band I suggest you check out this month, it would be Girl Band. Only in their early-20’s, the Irish quartet are proving to be masters of dance distortion. The energy and passion shattering through the EP is contagious, and should keep your blood pumping until the release of their debut album in the autumn. The Early Years EP is available on a very rare 10’’, please do your best to find it.