Review: Girls Names – The New Life
Hailing from Belfast, Ireland, Girls Names emerged on the music scene with their debut album Dead To Me. Filled with a jangle-pop, surf-infused, ’80s new wave sensibility, the album did its best to catch the musical attention of both the youngster who sees the 1980s as retro and old school, as well as the authentic “old school” 30-something reminiscing about those “good old days when guyliner actually meant something real”.
In fact, upon my first listen of this band, I mistakenly wondered how I missed out on their music in the ’80s! Soon enough, I found out they only came into existence in 2009, and released their debut, Dead To Me, in 2011. Just a few months ago they came out with their second album, The New Life.
Initially consisting of singer/guitarist/songwriter Cathal Cully and drummer Neil Brogan, they added Claire Miskimmin on bass a year later, and then guitarist Philip Quinn in 2012.
The New Life is aptly named, as Cully has been quoted as saying that their debut Dead To Me was, “Literally dead to us by the time it was committed to wax.” The new album reintroduces the band’s sound as a darker, post-punk, more thought-out and refined entity.
Though they haven’t lost that lovely surf-reverb dreamscape achieved in their last effort, the more menacing and moody basslines provide for an early Cure a la Seventeen Seconds atmosphere, as opposed to an early Depeche Mode a la Speak and Spell sound, if you catch my drift.
The New Life mesmerizes and makes you wonder if they would have been signed onto Factory Records in years past. The prominent instrumentation in this later effort, especially the hypnotic basslines (Hooky in Joy Division, anyone?), simple yet catchy and jangly guitar melodies (Johnny Marr in The Smiths or Robert Smith in The Cure, anyone else?), and distorted vocals and trippy feedback (Pixies, Stone Roses, well you get the picture…) take me back to some of the best parts of the dreamy 1980s music scene while still maintaining a fresh and clean new sound with original lyrics and musical journeys.
Check out The New Life in our listening station at Streetlight, and get it while it’s still on SALE!!”