Girls Names - The New Life

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2013-02-18

Back in 2011, I reviewed Girls Names' debut, Dead to Me. Two years is a long time in the life of modern day indie bands and, such is the vast array of acts out there, it's all too easy to be swept away by the new hipsters on the block and be put out to pasture. However, it seems Girls Names have taken the last 24 months as a chance to regroup, take stock, knuckle down and look at where they push on to the next album. The cover of The New Life may just give you a clue to where their downtime focus has gone; the bleak, monochrome and austere landscape is pure post-punk minimalism, further personified by the band pictures in stunning black and white on the inner sleeve.

The 56-second, music only 'Potrait' has more than a passing resemblance to 'Party Fears Two' by Associates. 'Pittura Infamante' has The Cure written all over it, equipped with their trademark primitive drums and gently throbbing bass. Its simplistic arrangement and catchy rhythms box clever with the dark, almost dissonant synth. It wouldn't be out of place on the goth legends ground-breaking Seventeen Seconds album, and is a very solid base on which to build The New Life.

They continue in a similar vein but inject the songs with a gregarious swell of passion and a fresh lease of life. 'Drawling lines' mixes post-punk brevity with motorik drums; 'Hypnotic Regression' draws on the jangle of C86 and the smooth lines of early electronica.

After a couple of listens, you can smell all the right musical reference points. Yes, it would be wrong to suggest this album wasn't derivative of the post-punk era and early British indie jangle but when Cathal Cully's subtle vocal murmur wrestles with Phillip Quinn's clever guitar play, they have effectively created their own tribute capable of showing any doubters that they are more than mere copycats. Proof that a hiatus and assessing your future can pay dividends right to the core.

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