(Originally published in print by QMessenger here)
Girl Band, to state the obvious that a simple internet search will confirm, contains no girls. The completely all-male four piece from Dublin owe far more to the heavy, noise-rock guitar sounds of 90s era grunge bands than they do to the likes of Little Mix, but there’s far more at work here than fuzzed-up basslines and grumbled vocals. The band only formed just over two years ago, but their unique breed of raw, relentless noise-rock, combining the heaviness of Bleach-era Nirvana (comparisons to which the band find ‘bizarre’) with the technical production of Daft Punk (who the band cite as an influence) is already making waves, with positive coverage across NME, The Guardian and Noisey.
On stage at London’s Old Blue Last, on the final evening of their biggest UK tour to date, they’re heavy on guitar effect pedals and unconventional playing techniques: at one point, bassist Adam Faulkner slides an empty glass bottle of Gaviscon up and down the frets to create a sound that can only be described as impending doom. Last time they came to London, their show was a relatively hushed affair; tonight, they’ve had to seal the doors of the free show early as a queue forms down the stairs from the venue and across the floor of the pub below.
Their most comprehensive work to date, 2012’s EP ‘France 98’ which the band toured last April, makes no appearance this evening. Instead, they run through a catalogue of recent and yet-to-be released tracks. Their cover of ‘terror techno’ music producer Blawan’s ‘Why they hide their bodies under my garage’ takes the song’s original techno sound and turns it into a seven-minute long stretch of pounding, chaotic dance-punk which wouldn’t feel out of place being played at the most hipster of warehouse parties. Current single, ‘Lawman’ is a six-minute build-up of energy that gets the crowd, who’d mostly been nodding their heads appreciatively up until this point, to actually move. The crowd is a complete mix, from tattooed twenty-somethings to granddads in button-up jumpers, the latter of which put the younger crowd to shame with their continuous dancing. Seemingly, Girl Band aren’t set on pleasing a young, indie crowd, but on making music for anyone that wants to listen.
Post-show, in between interruptions from journalists and fans alike, I managed to get five minutes with Dara Kiely, the vocalist of one of the most exciting post-punk bands of the moment:
How has the tour gone?
The tour was really smooth. It was the first time we’d toured in Europe. We played Brighton on the first date, then we went over to Eurosonic Festival. Lot of fun. And then we played a squat in Rotterdam, which was very fun. Our last gig was here [The Old Blue Last] and yeah, it’s gone really well.
What was the most stand out show for you guys?
[Tonight] was totally up there. The last time we played here there was a third of the crowd and then [tonight] people couldn’t get in so it’s really cool.
Yeah, earlier, I tried to leave the venue to come back in again and the guy at the door said “if you leave you can’t come back in” and there were people queuing out the door. How has the recent positive reaction been to you?
Yeah, it’s so weird. Yeah, [tonight] was really good, and the squat was great too. It was just, like, loads of Dutch punks being really nice. It’s a bit weird.
You just released the music video for your next single, ‘Lawman’. Can you tell us about that?
Yeah, we did it with these guys called Second/Frame. It’s recorded on VHS and then they fucked with the tapes. We’re pretty happy with it but it was a bit weird because we had to mime and we’re quite awkward. Like, we had a photoshoot today and it was all a bit static, very rigid. We’re bashful lads…but yeah, we’re happy with the video.
What are you planning to release next?
[Most recent EP] ‘France 98’ came out in November , and then we toured it in April . We didn’t play any off the tracks off it [tonight]. It’s really like…we just wanna find our feet a bit more. We’re gonna release a song on Record Store Day and we’ve got an EP coming out at the end of the year. We’re touring in June, we’re going to Madrid, Barcelona and Paris and stuff, so it’ll be really fun.
So, are you guys looking at an album at any point?
Probably next year, because we’ve only been going for two years so the songs keep changing. But, next year. I think it’s gonna be called “The Early Years”…but I’m not sure if that’ll stick.
Girl Band’s latest single ‘Lawman’ is available for free download here.