Seemingly with the weight of expectancy of a thousand Dublin post-punk drone rock fans, Girl Band have been on a fast and steep trajectory over the last year. Having signed a worldwide deal with Rough Trade of late, the four-piece band are tipped for greatness and a packed Twisted Pepper housed home-town gig which could and possibly should have been held in a larger venue.
Arriving on stage just after 12.30am, Dara Kiely and co. wasted little time in launching a full on drone-attack. Walking a very tight line, the band sounded loud, brash and in full control as Kiely yelped and growled his way through the set. Lyrically inaudible at times, it failed to matter as the apparent anguish in his voice speaks clearly enough for the crowd. What is remarkable about these lads is that they can create such otherworldly sounds using conventional instruments, like having three Tom Morello’s on stage. They are tight and pack serious clout and manage to effortlessly weave in and out of the noise as if shuffling from foot to foot. All the while Kiely seems on the verge of ripping his vocal chords to shreds. With a setlist of new material to offer, the band are offering glimpses of greatness. At times, however, they slip into resembling their influences a little too closely. From The Fall to the Stooges, from TV on the Radio to Swans, it’s all here. It’s also unfair to criticise a band for sounding like somebody else, who doesn’t? But the similarities are a little too comfortable to just pass off as acknowledging the canon. Short of wandering around fucking with everybody’s gear, Kiely makes no attempt to distance himself from the aggressive-poetic-melee that is Mark E. Smith’s signature vocal delivery. His half-committed lurching into the crowd is a bit like watching Iggy trying to keep his hair dry.
Girl Band are a fantastic live band and have some killer songs, that much we know. They are masters of instrumentation and their depth of talent is undeniable, but at times tonight only the songs were entirely original.