Girls Names' debut full-length Dead To Me received a solid 7.3 rated review from Pitchfork today.
Originally posted May 9th 2011:
" "Lawrence", the first track on this record by Girls Names, starts with a woozy, tape-warped guitar strum and a spate of whirring white noise. Given that the album is called Dead to Me, you'd be forgiven for thinking that you were entering into a bleak record of dissonant, droney punk dirges. But after a few seconds, the noise dissipates to make way for a slippery riff that leads into an effortlessly catchy, sun-kissed pop tune.
This musical approach-- sprightly, dewy-eyed, well-played surf-rock-- nods in the direction of escapism, being as though Girls Names hail from the relatively cooler and boardwalk-deprived city of Belfast. The guitar lines are bright, the drumming is usually up-tempo, and frontman Cathal Cully has a particularly romantic croon, deep and robust and subtly emotive. Though the gray of the Belfast sky peek through with the band's ghostly use of reverb, sentimental lyrics like "shut up and kiss me" ring the loudest. Their sound is vaguely reminiscent of labelmates Crystal Stilts, minus the psychedelic overtones and the Factory Records gloom that make that band so interesting. Songs like "I Could Die" and "Bury Me", in spite of their macabre goth titles, are two of the most upbeat songs on the album; in fact, you could rename them "I Love My Beach Ball" and "Every Day is a Party" and nobody would be the wiser.
With further listens, the feeling of heartbreak in the lyrics starts to set in. The aforementioned song titles and ones like "Cut Up" and "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" provide a hidden thread to the album, one more haunted than you would originally expect. The occasional specter appears during the song's lyrics, but the images sit side-by-side with scenes from the past and relationships in utter disrepair. With many of Cully's lyrics being tinted with regret, it becomes clear that the ghosts that float throughout Dead to Me represent old lovers cast in the breeze, that the album is actually a break-up record disguised as a concept album about ghosts disguised as the go-to album for indie-loving surfers. Which makes the record a lot more intriguing than it initially lets on.
Only on the closing "Séance on a Wet Afternoon" does the trio try a darker approach. The song is driven by Claire Miskimmin's bass and drummer Neil Brogan's nervous tapping of his ride cymbal, evoking the feeling of blazing down a dark, winding road with a paranoid kidnapper at the wheel. Ending with what sounds like a tape spinning off its reel, it's a welcome break from the amorousness of the remainder of the album, which is charming, but may have a harder time finding a place in your record collection during the year's colder months. — Martin Douglas, May 9, 2011 "
Purchase Dead To Me on CD, LP, single song for full album download HERE.
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