Having a song called ‘Heckle The Frames’ might be an indication of Girl Band’s attitude to “serious music”. Similarly, when you manage to piece apart the frantic yelps and adolescent wails of frontman Dara Kiely you might register mentions of Nutella, corn on the cob and garlic cheese chips. “Kids today,” you might harrumph, but why then do these nine songs from the Rough Trade ruffians feel like the one of the most straight-talking and expertly measured rock debuts in recent memory?
Controlled chaos defines Girl Band’s oeuvre. Take ‘Pears For Lunch’, which chips and taps with post-punk drill bits before pushing you down a pit filled with staccato guitar lacerations and brain-jamming bass pecks. Album opener ‘Umbongo’ is a straight-up aural mugging, a vicious industrial acid test for scenesters thinking the Dublin quartet could be their latest trendy Spotify search. “Survive this, and you can stay,” it screams. ‘In Plastic’ pulls a neat trick of a doo-wop rhythm and nightmarish guitar discord from Alex Duggan, as if some grand malignancy is being kept at bay via incantation. Brilliant bassist Daniel Fox slides around woozily on the primal pummel of Adam Faulkner on ‘Paul’, lurching towards a death disco riot that would send The Horrors scarpering for cover.
And then there’s Kiely. On the near eight-minute litany of outbursts that comprise ‘Fucking Butter’, the vocalist flits between an array of settings; a white-noise scream; a giddy, spit-flecked yelp; a slack background rant like a regretful reveller ejected from a Minor Threat gig for slam-dancing. He’s free associating at breakneck speed as ‘The Witch Doctor’ hurtles this astonishing album towards the cliff-edge. He might just be serious so seat-belts are advised.