September Girls - Cursing the Sea - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

September Girls - Cursing the Sea

by Steve Reynolds Rating:6 Release Date:2014-01-06

Dream-pop, Shoegaze, indie-pop – they all have their uses, and all girl piece September Girls seem happy to use all of them to their advantage on their debut album Cursing the Sea. Released on the respected Fortuna Pop! label, it echoes sounds of some of those much missed and influential C86 bands such as The Shop Assistants and the newly reformed Flatmates, detectable from opener ‘Cursing the Sea’ right through to the ethereal, doe-eyed mist of the Lush-style ‘Another Love Song’.

The opening two songs lay the groundwork for the majority of the album: simple constructed chunks of bellowing chord patterns juxtaposed with a minimal, uncomplicated rhythm-section. The band separate the song-writing four ways, very much taking the Teenage Fanclub approach to their music and taking the heat and pressure off one member producing all the lyrics.

'Ships' is a real demonstration of what September Girls can offer: the rumbling bass, angular, twinkling guitars and pounding drums make for a terrifyingly good listen. The gloss of the song defies their tender years and rookie output, and shows an outwards sense of camaraderie, like a huge dose of Huggy Bear and riot grrl. Maybe that’s a lazy comparison, but the love for each other seems to seep out of this particular song.

At times the production overrides the vocal quality and the thinly veiled vocal on ‘Daylight’ becomes even shallower to a degree that you can’t fathom out some of the lyrics.  However, the swirling organ more than makes up for this as it washes away all that comes before it.

While the band has a bounce and jiggle to their songs, there are some underlying issues they challenge head-on. ‘Green Eyed’ deals with trapped relationship issues and the prickly ‘Sister’ looks at the issues of rape in the modern era. ‘Someone New’ takes the harmonies of the Shangri-La’s and twists them into a holler of school-ground chants. ‘Secret Lovers’ is similarly stripped bare and refrains from being bludgeoned by the guitars of their previous songs.

For a debut, it’s tidy, well-thought-out and has enough guile behind it to have an impact in the alternative underground. It’s not groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, and at times seems formulaic, but has enough to rattle a few eardrums.

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