September Girls - Veneer [VINYL]

by Warwick Stubbs Rating:6.5 Release Date:2014-12-08

This four-song EP is a great indicator of exactly what September Girls are like soundwise. Having never heard of this five-piece garage-rock/fuzz-pop band from Ireland, I can say that it immediately grabbed the ears with driving guitars and some waferish vocals, which wouldn't usually do much for me, but collide with the rock setting so well that the whole demands a bit of head-nodding and toe-tapping.

There isn’t really one single song that stands out, but also not a single song feels less than any of the others. EPs don’t usually have this much strength, and if you like noise-rock combined with a bit of pop sensibility, you may find yourself really enjoying these four songs. Second track ‘Black Oil’ is the most noise-rocky of the set, with a deluge of spoken-words slickly riding the current of verses, while the third song ‘Melatonin’ brings in controlled melodic verses drenched in guitar reverb that reminds me quite a lot of Melissa Auf der Maur.

There isn’t much to be critical of, though personally, the big chorus moments are never big enough; it almost seems like the lack of studio polish has rendered the entire recording at one volume-level. As a consequence, when instruments drop away in the final track and only the bass rumbles away, it’s still just as loud. It’s great to hear the bass, but it sucks that there’s no power when everybody else decides to enter in again. I do like hearing that bass, though, as ‘Butterflies’ takes the EP out.

September Girls already have a full album out this year called Cursing the Sea, which can be found at their bandcamp site. A preliminary listen seems to show a bit more focus on dynamics, a cleaner sound and, overall, much less of the the garage thrown-together vibe which seems to run through this EP. But that’s cool, because that’s what albums are supposed to be anyway.

There are moments of Pixies guitar-lines, and more than just a smidgen of Melissa Auf der Maur in the vocals and reverb. Either way, they are definitely a group worth checking out.

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