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The New Life

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Belfast-based four-piece Girls Names are a singular proposition, both geographically and psychically removed from their contemporaries at home and abroad. Released on 26th February, their second album ''The New Life'' is the sound of a band on the fringes striving to forge their own path, purposefully out of step - and time - with their surroundings. Weighed heavy with the grey landscapes of their hometown, ''The New Life'' is isolation laid bare, shot through with an undeterred sense of purpose and individuality. Having released a series of singles and EPs on various independent labels, Girls Names made their first significant impression on the wider world in 2011 with their debut album, ''Dead To Me,'' earning plaudits from the likes of Pitchfork, NME and Loud & Quiet amongst a host of others. And yet, despite all the praise heaped on it, as soon as that record was released Girls Names were already moving into a different head space. The band's performance at this year's Primavera festival provided them with their first real opportunity to showcase the songs that were to comprise ''The New Life.'' The sunshine backdrop of the Spanish coastline offered a somewhat incongruous setting to the eerie dissonance of the new material, a kind of trial by fire metamorphosis rapturously received. Following a tour of Europe, the band returned home to record the album over a series of months. Having been produced by singer and songwriter, Cathal Cully, they've managed to capture that sense of otherness the performances at Primavera hinted at. The expansion to a four piece means the garage-clatter of the spritely pop songs of their debut have been replaced by a deeper, shadowy exercise in catharsis, driven by repetition, psychedelia and Dionysian crisis. And the record was born of a weighty concept too, as Cully explains: '''The New Life' is not an over-night change for Girls Names - just over two years in fact. 'Dead to Me' literally was dead to us by the time it was committed to wax. But it's a learning curve. We started moving on as artists the moment we finished that recording session, maybe even before. Not to dwell on the past, 'The New Life' is what happens when you reset everything back to zero and start again, but try to perfect. It starts back at zero the minute the needle hits the groove but we're also starting back from zero once the needle lifts at the end of the record. Ad infinitum. 'The New Life' is what follows now.''
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Slumberland Records
  • ASIN: B00AZD47HE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,061 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
2nd album from band out of Belfast, Ireland—haunted, echoing, motorik dark-pop dreams with a
fluid, rhythmic psychedelic flow. Tremeloed guitar notes speak in a warm alien language over
the soothing, synthesized atmospheric layers weaving their way through the ever-present and
ever-pleasant driving bass/drum beat—which draws from a mysterious well of Krautrock
influences. Continually evolving, with a non-stop lope-along pace, “The New Life” is a semi-
creepy, frothy burble-bubble cauldron of buoyant auditory movement with the subtle appeal of
hypnotic melody lines. There’s a lot going on here, and I hear bits of influence from a number of
very different artists, such as Weird Dreams, The Phoenix Foundation, Simple Minds, Weekend,
Television, Beach Fossils, Kraftwerk, New Order, The Warmbloods, Hospitality, Beach Fossils.
Once you open the door on this one, you’ll never want to leave the room. –Mesmerizing--
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Format: Audio CD
After their debut, an album of trebly, twee, C86-ish guitar pop, Girls Names apparently went back to the drawing board and reinvented themselves as a gloomy post-punk inspired outfit, and the resultant sophomore full length is, to these ears, easily the best release of 2013 by anyone. The music is at once haunting, moody, driving, and dense, injected with a heavy dose of melancholy atmosphere. Clean, chiming, and sometimes jangly guitars stake out powerful, often shimmering melodies, colored by tastefully applied chorus, reverb, and dub-inspired delay effects. The propulsive rhythm section pushes things forward with simple but resonant and prominent bass lines and tom-heavy drumming. Synths are mainly there to add color and atmosphere, typically playing sustained notes or chords that provide a powerfully evocative backdrop, and sometimes melding together with the guitars to create a lush, psychedelic-tinged tapestry. The vocals are drenched in reverb, the singing is understated and coolly detached. Over the course of the album the arrangements and overall sound can start to seem a bit samey as there is not much variation from song to song, but the quality remains high throughout.

The most obvious stylistic reference point to my ears is Sad Lovers and Giants, but one can also detect a touch of Chameleons UK or And Also The Trees, maybe a dab of 17 Seconds-era Cure, a little Factory Records circa early 80s, a smattering of The Sound, and a bit of motorik Krautrock a la Neu! or Faust. But despite these comparisons, Girls Names still exude enough personality to sound like, well... themselves. The New Life is a highly focused and consistent album, and it represents a thoroughly gripping new direction for Girls Names. I'm insanely curious to see where they go next.
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By John B. on November 9, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Oh, I just absolutely love this album. I don't think dreamrock is an accurate description...maybe they're a sub-category. Regardless, this is a really good album that I stumbled upon and it comes completely recommended. Check it out as well as their other releases.
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