The Lexington – Thursday 13th August | Photo by Will Dix
Has a headache ever felt so good? The last time I saw Girl Band was two years ago in a cramped, cavernous basement in Brighton, my eardrums rattled and brain suitably scrambled – as many can attest, the memories of witnessing this band dismantle a stage are not easily banished. Then again, it’s not as if you would you want to. Even with a mere smattering of singles under their belt, it was clear Girl Band had something, if not everything, we’d been looking for.
Rough Trade spied it too, snapping them up late last year, ensuring they be heard by a wider audience when an album eventually arrived. If it feels like we’ve been waiting an eternity for their debut, we haven’t had long to prepare for tonight, the show only being announced earlier in the week as a sort of last minute salute to the arrival of Holding Hands With Jamie, and the punters, predictably, have come out in force.
Four musicians that relish the prospect of pushing instruments to their shrieking, shattering limit.
At first glance, Girl Band sport a leaner sound than when I last caught them. Let’s be honest, they were never going to scale down on the pile driving sonic assault, but the construction of their first full long player has clearly enabled the band to refine and focus, and Dara Kiely appears far more comfortable addressing the crowd with anecdotes about leaving his luggage at home and the curious story behind new song ‘Fucking Butter’. Aside from that, they haven’t changed much, simply tightened up on what made them a gleefully deranged prospect in the first place – four musicians that relish the prospect of pushing instruments to their shrieking, shattering limit.
It’s exhilarating to hear the album for the first time, yet it comes as a relief that older tracks such as ‘Lawman’ and ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’ remain, the latter provoking a spontaneous scrum of flailing limbs as onlookers express themselves in the only way that feels natural.
Part of the appeal has always been attempting to unearth those unlikely grooves amongst the screeching feedback and thunderous breakdowns. While you can’t exactly sway your hips, I am saying that, yes, Girl Band boast a bizarre danceability that snakes its way beneath the swathes of white noise. If Holding Hands With Jamie isn’t big on funky basslines, it hasn’t stripped the band of their hypnotic slow burn either.
Even if their set does feel undeniably brief, it’s enough. From sprawling seven-minute epics to searing eruptions of thirty-second vitriol, I’m headbanging all the way down the Northern Line. Hasn’t happened in a while.
Live: 100 Club – October 6th