From: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Story: Monochrome post-punks discover color
Sound: Jangly guitar, wiry tightness, plentiful reverb
On their debut 12-inch, a four-song slab issued last year by the unstoppable Captured Tracks, Belfast-based trio Girls Names sounded raw and ramshackle, hacking away at their heavily-reverbed, wiry-tight, post-punk-ish guitar rock with a kind of aggressive economy. It was bleak music of stark lines, harsh production, and booming vocals; a vaguely Joy Divisiony air of emptiness pervading even their noisy moments.
Things have changed on their debut album, Dead to Me. The hard, dark title is a little misleading, given their once-bare sound has undergone some serious growth over the past year. Like flowers —or, at least, weeds— poking through the concrete, there's some sweetly guitar jangle and joyous melodies blossoming across their otherwise-economical, at-times-brutal 28-minute set; moments of color amidst the monochrome.
On "When You Cry," frontman Cathal Cully uncoils some buoyant guitar and a croon of more swoon than doom, happily harkening back to Orange Juice's post-punk romanticism. "Nothing More to Say" rattles along with something approximating breeziness. "Bury Me" is the LP's best bet, all giddy guitar pirouettes and a chorus that speaks of a love of tambourines, reverb, and echo'd vocals in so much Spector worship "bury me in a wall of sound."