10.26.2015 — “Paul” by Girl Band

Girl Band

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Paul” by Girl Band (2015, from the album Holding Hands With Jamie).

Girl Band is a noise rock/punk/post-punk quartet from Dublin. There are no girls in the band. They have a pretty unique sound that sounds to me like one part Fugazi, one part Bauhaus and two parts A Place To Bury Strangers. Really dark, and weird, and kinda creepy. They don’t say much about what their actual influences are, but everything that I’ve read says that it’s The Birthday Party, krautrock, and a short list of others.

They released a single in the spring of 2012, then a live EP called France 98 in the autumn of 2012. They were becoming a rising star thanks in part to their explosive live shows. Things, however, went off the rails for a bit.

While he was away at university, singer Dara Kiely went through a difficult break up. This triggered a psychotic episode and mental break-down. He had some manic and erratic behavior, and he couldn’t write anymore. He dropped out of school and starting living in a tent in his family’s back yard. His mom had to take several months off work to care for him, and he eventually got the help that he needed in hospital. The band openly talk about this, and it has helped them quite a bit, in a way.

Last year, the band released a couple of singles, then a collection called The Early Years came out early this year. Back in February, they released a very strange video for a song called “Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage”. The song, apparently, is a cover song, but it got them on a lot of people’s radar. It’s a very strange, twisted video that you can see here. In August, they released the video for today’s song. It’s also strange and twisted. In early September, they released a strange and twisted video for another album track called “Pears For Lunch”. All of this was building a big buzz around them.

Even before the release of their debut album, they went on a headlining North American tour with some sold out dates. Finally, on September 25, they released their debut Holding Hands With Jamie. It’s not an easy listen, and it’s absolutely the kind of thing that you either love or you hate. After reading a bunch of really positive reviews, I finally downloaded the album the other day, and right away, I decided that I was in the “love it” club. While the whole album is pretty amazing, today’s song totally knocked me out the first time I heard it.

There isn’t a soundcloud or bandcamp, but this video is great. Even if it’s weird. The video is about a guy who is an actor inside a costume on a children’s television show. He’s always acting cheery and happy, but he’s a rather sad guy under the costume. It’s based upon a documentary about Big Bird that shows a woman complimenting the actor’s performance only to find out that the man inside the suit was crying a cry of sadness.

Anyway, here’s the video:

One of the things that I love about the song is the juxtaposition of disparate sounds. One moment, the song sounds hollow, muffled, and distant, as if the band was playing under a giant cardboard box. The next moment is a big wave of noise. Noise that some people might find terrifying. I find it to be beautiful.

You can buy Holding Hands With Jamie via Rough Trade here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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