Girl Band – France 98

Band – Girl Band
EP – France 98
Label – Any Other City
Release date – Out now
Sounds like – Girls Aloud, Spice Girls, Girls On Film, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Some guy pointing at your shit haircut and laughing.

Possibly not a tribute to that great footballing event that happened 15 years ago that I have a coffee mug for – hey, that’s probably worth a few bob now.

Girl Band hail from Dublin and ‘France 98’ is a sinister and warped trail of distortion, disapproving sneers and the middle finger. I like how uncomfortably ominous each track sounds. From the cacophony of snarling guitars that make up opener ‘You’re A Dog’ to the frantic barrage of quick-fire strumming of the speed-punk title track; ‘France 98’ is part Therapy? attempting to be a grunge band, whilst a maniac wails his head off just outside the recording studio.

Speaking of recording, some of these songs sound like 3 takes straight to tape in a garage and fuck it if anything goes wrong – top stuff guys; the raw, brokenness and slovenly snarl is refreshing and somewhat comical.

‘You’re A Dog’ contains this grinding riff that grows louder and more menacing as the song progresses, while the somewhat buried vocals are spat with a careless disregard and sound like a threat on your life, even if their execution is also dishevelled and dilapidated. Similar to METZ; Girl Band ramp the uncomfortable levels up alongside the volume and it’s delightfully evil.

The beginning of ‘Busy At Maths’ struts along at a lazy gait, but still sounds engaging – especially when the discordant guitars kick in, howling and scratching the song to pieces over the repeated chant of “fast and slow, fast and slow, fast and slow…” which is delivered with a charmingly neutral-planet style shoulder-shrug of ‘who cares?’

Whatever’s going on during ‘That Snake Conor Cusack’ is somewhat of a head-fuck. The swirling over-driven guitars, churn, lurch and rollick with gut-wrenching precision, whilst permanently slamming on the overdrive pedals whenever they get the chance – i.e. for the full 4 minutes and 11 seconds of this particular track, especially the swirling implosion at the song’s coda.

Title track ‘France 98’ is a breathless party smasher of Wives-style punk rock, flooded with feedback, whilst ‘Second One’ features a wonderful roar of ‘HEY!’ and reminds me very much of Mclusky’s ‘Alan is a Cowboy Killer’, for all it’s disturbing quietLOUDquietWHATWASTHAT dynamics and its mocking tone.

‘Handswaps’ lays on the distortion a bit more on a song that drifts at a dream-like, sleepy-pace, but a sleep that’s interrupted by someone operating a power-saw near your ear every time you successfully drop off. The persistent, eerie guitar whines give a nod to noise-pollution agents, A Place to Bury Strangers, whilst still manages to shift dramatically into a passages of tuneful tranquillity, despite its dark and brooding nature.

Fans of stamping on big fuck-off distortion pedals, leaning your guitar up against an amp whilst it’s turned up to 11, looking over your shoulder whilst running away from something and being a jerk will find ‘France 98’ just the racket they’ve been waiting for – strongly recommended. (It’s also free to download from their bandcamp.)



Words – Ross Macdonald

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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