By Troy Burke
Artist: Girl Band
Album: Holding Hands with Jamie
Label: Rough Trade
Release Date: September 25, 2015
It’s safe to say that there isn’t another band making music that is sonically similar to Girl Band. Holding Hands with Jamie is the Dublin band’s first full length album and it is surprisingly well refined. Girl Band’s previous studio effort The Early Years gave listeners a preview of what to expect with heavy tracks like “Lawman” and a cover of Blawan’s “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage”.
Girl Band has a talent for being incredibly loud yet entirely structured. The opening track “Umbongo” shows how they turn a simple chord into a tidal wave of sound that sounds like a metal on metal screech. Right after “Umbongo” builds up and cuts off suddenly, the album transitions right into the single “Pears for Lunch”. Lead singer Dara Kiely’s vocals lead the steady pulse of guitars and before the song explodes into an assault on your ear drums – you hear an insane and uncertain cry of “I don’t know what she wants.”
Kiely’s growls are the perfect addition to the chaos provided by the rest of the band. The good thing about Girl Band is that they know how to make their listeners wait for the climax of their work. The Early Years is a fairly straightforward EP that shows how disorienting the band can be and showcases their ability to blow out speakers. The difference in this album is that there are tracks like “Paul” which makes the listener wait for what’s coming next. The eerie tone of lines like “she’s a gem/give her a call/my daughter Paul” makes way for the patient bass and drums that stand out in this industrial influenced sound.
Holding Hands with Jamie is a great experimental noise album that is full of suspense and aggression. This is a prime example of how a band can grow from EP to album in a short amount of time. Noise can be an easy thing to have too much of but Girl Band has found the right balance.