Thursday, May 26

Record Review: Girls Names [Dead To Me, Slumberland/Tough Love Records]

By Jennifer Graciano
The debut full length “Dead to Me” from Belfast natives, Girls Names, present the trio moving away from the rundown dissonance and heavy reverb heard on their 12” release on Captured Tracks, “Don’t Let Me In.” They’ve polished their approach to surf rock, and tamed their 60s garage rock ambiance this time around, and despite the drab album title, “Dead To Me” is anything but bleak. Lacking the expected miserable impression, “Dead To Me” surprises us with twenty eight minutes of sweet clatter, entrancing melodies, and exceptional guitar licks that will get your head bobbing and your toe tapping.

Album opener ‘Lawrence’ delivers a dazed take on ’60s garage rock. The first forty seconds are appropriate for the album title; warped noise that gives a false front to the otherwise lively album. Cully’s vocals are anything but feminine, but “Kiss Goodbye” might as well have come from a mid-‘60s girl group. It’s a bouncy track filled to the brim with lovelorn allure. The fuzzy sounds on “When You Cry” will have you itching to get to the beach with its potential to soundtrack your next hazy daydream as you lounge about the sand.

A killer drumbeat opens up the two minute long “Nothing More To Say” as sweet chords come into play, but swiftly plateaus as Cully’s derisive tone and lyrics add little to what had the potential to be a wonderful song. The majority of the album follows along these lines: all the makings of an awesome jam-out-loud full length, but for the most part, stagnates.

Some good old surf pop on “Cut Up” alongside Cully’s grim singing which is an interesting mix, and will keep Girls Names from ever being pigeonholed into the “twee” category their music can sometimes lean towards. “Bury Me” is one of the more upbeat cuts on the album, and proves a warm listen that will no doubt draw you in with its layered instrumentation and reverb.

“Séance On A Wet Afternoon” was a pleasant surprise end; a song noisy all the way through with consistent energy. Drums and bass carry this song nicely, an unsteady garage track not too different from some of Slumberland label mates Crystal Stilts’ music. “Séance On A Wet Afternoon” was what I was waiting for, shame it had to be at the tail end of the album as more of this vigor was practically begged for in earlier tracks

Girls Names hardly stray from the opener “Lawrence” for the remainder of the album, something that grows stale fairly quickly. With little variation within these ten songs, one feels like they’re listening to the same track repeatedly. And while that sound isn’t bad, it’s not anything that resonates beyond the moment. “Séance On A Wet Afternoon” was easily the standout on the album, a seedy rock piece jam-packed with raw energy, even Cully’s relatively deadpan vocals pick up the pace on this one. With laidback croons and a handful of jittery riffs, “Dead To Me” is a different listen; it’s good, but can get tiresome. However, for those enamored with the garage rock/noise pop fusion ever popular today, Girls Names deliver, and many will find enjoyment in their debut.

Seánce On A Wet Afternoon

Pick up the record here

No comments:

Post a Comment