Album Review: Girl Band – Holding Hands with Jamie

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A band who have taken influences from many different artists and genres but end up sounding like absolutely none of these influences is a rarity these days.  Girl Band are one, and their debut LP ​Holding Hands With Jamie ​is a record of originality demonstrating the demented and belligerent nature of the Dublin four-piece.

 Opening with ​’Umbongo’ ​and ‘​Pears for Lunch’ – ​two staggering tracks brimming with a feverish energy – with the latter combining pugnacity and ferocity with frontman Dara Kiely’s twisted sense of humour (alerting us to his penchant for masturbating over ​Top Gear​) as he howls like a wounded beast over the pounding guitar and drums.  ​’Paul’ ​continues the mess with a genuinely terrifying, droning bassline grating with abrasive drums to create a macabre sound writhing with brutality.  The record, in some ways, is a testament to Kiely who suffered a mental breakdown after a particularly messy break­up, undergoing periods of euphoria, believing he was God and could control the weather.  This mania is reflected heavily in the music, continually teetering on the edge of all-out sonic destruction but manage to reel it in, largely down to Kiely’s vocals, notably on ‘Fucking Butter’​.  This is an album of unparalleled aggression and danger, yet an odd beauty can be found among all the frightful tension. You’d be hard pushed to find a guitar band, or in fact any band at the moment, as exciting as Girl Band right now.

[Ross McMichael]

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