Girl Band "Holding Hands With Jamie" LP

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Pitchfork about Girl band:

"Girl Band’s debut EP, 2012’s France 98, was good but unremarkable, the sound of four young Irish guys experimenting with dissonance but rarely straying from ten-a-penny post-punk gloom. By contrast, last year’s "Lawman" was the sign of a band that had found their own sharp footing. Writhing, sexy, and strange, the Dubliners soldered frenzied hi-hats to an industrial mess that recalled early Liars, and Dara Kiely had found his yowling voice located somewhere between his apparently unhinged jaw and spirit. The revelation was nothing compared to what the song did for Kiely himself. During a period of poor mental health, the euphoria he experienced from writing the song (which dealt with a recent breakup) triggered within him a superhuman complex. "I had this thing, this, ‘You are your own god, you are your own master’, this extreme idea," he said. "It was the most amazing feeling I have ever had… I thought I could control the weather. Everything."

Kiely spent a while living in a tent in his back garden, and the episode became so severe that his mother took six months off work to care for him, encouraging him to write when he couldn’t do anything else. Eventually, he had a breakdown and checked into a hospital, and emerged, he says, genuinely at peace. The rest of Girl Band had continued to write while he was away, and on Kiely’s return, he fitted observations from his journal to their squall. His wit hadn’t vanished alongside his sense of reason. "The Last Riddler" repeats verbatim the moment where he asked a doctor for their favorite band. Given the reply "ABBA", Kiely presented him with a piece of paper that read "the winner takes it all," along with some cryptic advice: "Think about it." Elsewhere he’s more fragmented: He "snorted a wasp and told them to eff off" on "Pears for Lunch", where he struggles with body dysmorphia and has a self-loathing wank in front of "Top Gear". Acutely attuned to the goings-on of the natural world, he scraps with pigeons, toys with fetid food, and watches a girl “[race] her slugs to the salt lines." His tragi-comic tidbits combine to a universal portrait of idle squalor and degradation that trumps his realist peers, and aligns him with absurdists like Captain Beefheart or cult poet Patricia Lockwood.

Should you laugh? Holding Hands With Jamie is as discomfiting as Kiely’s mental state. "Pears for Lunch" swells with dangerous fearlessness, recalling '90s news reports of bad amphetamines that made hopped-up kids think they were Icarus, while at the end of "The Last Riddler", Kiely’s screams and explosive bursts of roiling guitar and drums give the impression of a man running amok with a chainsaw. "Paul" picks up the conversation between techno and industrial music that Girl Band started on their cover of Blawan’s "Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage" and takes it somewhere utterly godless and glorious: seven minutes of ravenous, gathering violence comprised of screaming guitar, lurching bass, and superhuman effort from drummer Adam Faulkner. 

Where this spring’s The Early Years EP—led by "Lawman"—either went hell for leather or slowed the pace entirely, on Holding Hands… Girl Band have mastered suspense. "Baloo" chugs like BattlesMirrored retooled from corroded scrap metal; "In Plastic" has a pendulous, borderline romantic quality. They self-produced, and the record often sounds as if it was recorded on the other side of a warehouse wall, like muffled industry contained within a rubbery membrane. This strange distance could be frustrating, but it becomes an integral part of Girl Band’s sound, which feels unique right now. Traces of Liars’ DNA persist, as do similarities to those tireless Texans Shit and Shine, but it’s hard to think of another guitar-based band conjuring fear this exhilarating and volume this rapturous."

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