Friday, 17 January 2014

Album Review:September Girls – Cursing The Sea

 (Fortuna POP!)

Following a run of well received singles the Dublin based five-piece September Girls have shown up with their debut album Curse The Sea. They have spent the last couple of years bringing together the harmonies of girl group pop, swept under a wave of noisey guitars and organ keys and put through a grainy and reverb laden wall of sound production. Alongside the more pop moments, the record is filled with its fair share of minor key melodies reminiscent of that point where post-punk met goth music in the early eighties with jagged tremolo guitar lines and heavy drums which alongside the dream pop vocals create a fitting balance between bubblegum and misery. 

Starting with the title track Curse The Sea's quick tempo and soft vocals seem to share a sound with another Irish group, touching on My Bloody Valentine's jangly noise from around the time of their You Made Me Realise EP. This sound reveals itself through the album; in the high energy ferocity of album closer Sister with its swirling guitar distortion and relentless drum rhythm and the dark twang of the guitar lines on the dark pop of Another Love Song.

One of the bands first singles shows up here and with good reason, Heartbeats is a perfect slice of noise pop, its four chords running along on a surf rock beat. The lyrics concerns themselves with relationships that never really make it of the ground, 'I'm not your boyfriend' accompanied by a back up of oohs it comes across like The Jesus & Mary Chain covering an early Beach Boys single. The group's pop-penning chops are also on show on the sunnier and punky Someone New and the beach combing rock of Talking. They rarely break away from the three minute (noise) pop format and with the groups penchant for darkness it often feels like a twisted take on the Phil Spector guided girl groups of the sixties. There are plenty of girl group touchstones, with call and response vocals on Green Eyed and the layered vocals of the lovelorn Shangri-Las-like Daylight, repeating 'I can't sleep at night' as lush harmonies wash together with the bands many voices weaving together in their ocean of sound.

The reference points are sometimes a little obvious but instead of blatant emulation, you get the feel of admiration for these eras of pop, whether its the sweetness of the sixties are the darker eighties guitar music. For those who like something a little rough around the edges there is a lot to enjoy here and beneath the layers of noise there is a real pop core to the song writing.

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