First published by greenmanmusic.biz
So, what to expect from a group called Girl Band? Well, at the very least girls, with perhaps some small, sparkly outfits, suggestive dancing, vocoded vocals and cheesy pop tunes. But, from the minute you pop this EP on, you realise that is about as far from the truth as you could possibly get. For Girl Band area a Dublin based quartet of blokes, who play heavily grunge influenced rock music. Loud, dirty and Neanderthal, with no glitter, feathers or make-up in sight. And equally, don’t be fooled by the EP title, France 98, as it is not an album of football anthems or a serial Gallic pop compilation, rather a 6 track EP of some serious quality stuff.
The tone is set by the opening track, charmingly titled You’re a Dog. It commences in a feedback drenched frenzy of wailing guitars and crashing percussion, before settling into a monumental , sludgy and pounding tune, heavily influenced by early Nirvana and Mudhoney, all attitude and disjointed sounds, with brilliantly strained vocals. Although things move merrily along in the same vein each track has its own sound and identity, something easy to lose in music that is this noisy and unplanned sounding. Title track France 98 is a sub two minute punk frenzy, followed by a slower but no less frenetic track ironically titled (for it is the fifth on the record), Second One. So for five tracks there is uninterrupted, delirious neo-grunge, a brilliantly frantic and furious noise-fest.
And then, closing track Handswaps throws a massive curve ball. It starts off like the rest with feedback and, and after a drumstick count you expect an almighty burst of noise but out of leftfield get a slowed down, droney song with hypnotic beats and moany vocals. But then startling stabs of fuzzy warped guitars remind you who you are listening too, just in case you forgot. The pace slowdown is great, but in my opinion would be even better if placed mid album somewhere, so it could be followed as well as preceded with the more usual break-neck ear bleed material these guys delight in producing.
So, an EP not for those with neuralgia or tinnitus, but for those who harken back to the early 90’s days of grunge and Jesus Lizard-esque noise. One of the best things I have heard in ages.
France 98 is released through Any Other City Records and is out now. Download it at girlbanddublin.bandcamp.com/
More on Girl Band at facebook.com/girlband