Girl Band (New band of the day No 1,673)

Irish boy band making a racket bearing the influence of krautrock and goth - but not grunge

Hometown: Dublin.

The lineup: Dara Kiely (vocals, guitar), Alan Duggan (guitar), Daniel Fox (bass), Adam Faulkner (drums).

The background: Girl Band are the latest in a long line of "Girl" bands that includes such notables as Girls, Shy Girls, September Girls and Girl Unit - and that's not even mentioning the "Women" ones such as Women, Woman E and Woman's Hour. Usually when an indie band adopts the female sex (is there an indie band called Female Sex? There ought to be) as part of their moniker there is an element of snarkiness going on, and so it is with Girl Band. They took their name after meeting "an annoying girl" in a bar one night. Apparently, she liked the Wombats. "She was such an awful woman," said the guitarist afterwards. Lucky she didn't express a predilection for Nigel Farage or someone. Or U2.

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So anyway, Girl Band are prone to overreacting. But as you can probably tell from the photo, Girl Band are not a girl band. That picture doesn't tell you much, actually. Or at least, it does telegraph quite strongly that they are a bog-standard indie band, but they are rather better than that. One of the other things that infuriates them apart from meeting Wombats fans in pubs is being compared to grunge or grunge-era bands from Nirvana to Jesus Lizard when really they'd prefer to be referred to in the same breath as Dean Martin, the Modern Lovers, the Fall, James Chance and the Contortions, the Beatles and Daft Punk. Well, we'd like to be cited as the logical heirs to Paul Morley, Nick Kent, Julie Burchill, Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer and Paul Williams, but what can you do? The fact is, they don't sound much like Dino crooning with everyone's favourite Gallic retro robots. But! The grunge thing is selling them short. There are other influences at work here.

Lawman, for example, which we believe is their next release, is based on an amplified chug and has some of the feral appeal, the animal magic, if you will, of Pixies, with some strange guitar effects in snarling distance of Kevin Shields. Their cover of Yorkshire exponent of "terror techno" Blawan's Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage features distortion and noise like a Hoover crying. It is mechanistic and rhythmical-industrial, not grunge at all, eight minutes of pure panic. Their France 98 EP is worth tracking down, not least because it is, according to their Bandcamp, "hand stamped, numbered and wrapped in string". There are only 300 copies, so good luck with that. In case you can't find it, we can tell you that You're A Dog is like the Kinks' You Really Got Me remixed by MBV: it's almost krautrock, or at least krautgrunge. Busy At Maths has a lurching Nirvana-ish structure. That Snake Conor Cusack is mystifyingly titled, if indeed the eponymous character is the Irish hurler who has battled with crippling depression. The title track is 1'17" of yelping and frantic fuss. Second One is dance music in the sense that the Feelies, Wire and Talking Heads were danceable. The song features one chord, with assorted vocal extemporisation/ poeticisation on top. Handswaps opens with echoey, plangent effects ahead of a bass rumble and slow stately drums. This is postpunk, but not the white funk or death disco variety, more the drained, pallid, grey postpunk of the goth contingent. But grunge? Nah.

The buzz: "Noise-pop genius" - Drowned In Sound.

The truth: But they're still more Jesus Lizard than Little Mix.
Most likely to: Get slapped by a Wombat.

Least likely to: Win Brazil 2014.

What to buy: You can stream their debut EP France 98 in full here.

File next to: Modern Lovers, Pixies, Nirvana, Cure.


Thursday's new band: Anushka.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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