With it finally getting colder, it’s important to find music that makes it easier to deal with dark mornings that make you question why you’re leaving the house. I like my job, so for me it’s just the effort of having to deal with rude people on the tube every morning. Stop pushing people out the way and PLEASE brush your teeth before you leave the house, or have a mint. Coffee breath just makes me want to vomit. Awful. Gentle rage aside, I’m now going to write about a band who I love (obviously) and why their new record is (again,obviously) a stroke of genius.
Girls Names are one of those bands that managed to merge everything I love and look for in music into one. They sound like Mark E Smith in a fight with Edwyn Collins, with a bit of Josef K thrown in. For me it is music heaven. I’m not really sure what anyone else thinks, but I’m not fussed. Arms Around A Vision is a record that much like what I’ve written about recently, doesn’t make me feel like I am in 2015. Which let’s be honest, isn’t really a bad thing. Everything now revolves around how many people “know” you via social media sites rather than who actually gives a fuck about you. We’re all deathly scared of being lonely or being unlike our peers that we try too hard to be like them and losing any sense of a personality we once had. In short, Girls Names make me forget how awful everything is and how I feel like I am always on the outside looking in. I’ve never felt part of anything or like I “belonged.” This isn’t in a “woe is me” way. It’s just my interests don’t revolve around being drunk or taking a photo of myself whilst making everyone believe I am having a nice time. I’m sat in bed, listening to a band I love. Occasionally I look out the window, and I can see the lights of planes above my house. For me, that’s a nice time. I’m a bore to most. To myself? It doesn’t matter. Girls Names have this power in their new record to make you see things for how they are and taking you away from it.
Arms Around A Vision is made up of brilliant moments that show you exactly how great Girls Names are. I’m fully aware that’s a mundane statement. but it is entirely true. It’s a record to really gush about. It’s a record to fall in love with, and tell all your pals about. It’s like meeting someone who changes your life in a way no one else will understand, but you still want to tell everyone about. You get that instantly with the record, and records like that are hard to find. Some may struggle to “get” this record and dismiss it for what it isn’t. But as someone who absolutely adores this magnificent Belfast band, it is fair to say that it is a massive music highlight of the year. The songs make you feel like you’re in dark pub watching characters go about their business as you tuck into a stale bag of crisps. This is a record to listen to as you let the day pass you by. It’s a record to vent your frustrations out to. Sometimes I struggle with writing about music because the words don’t seem to want to come out, but Arms Around A Vision has triggered something.
What I love about Girls Names is their poetic and industrial atmosphere in their music. It feels like a grey day, for some that’s an insult but it’s so far from that. It is one of those records that you have to listen to when it is either night-time or the sky is a menacing grey. It’s the kind of record that sounds mighty fine now as it would in the 70s/80s. It’s got the guts of Punk and twinges of others. It’s like Suicide messed around with The Fall. I’m sure they’ve had every comparison under the sun lobbed at them, but I’m just mentioning bands I love and picking up on possible influences. It’s a hypnotic record from start to finish. Each song follows the other in a careful manner, and this effortlessly brilliant record should be high on everyone’s lists come the end of the year. I don’t like lists, but it’d be in my top 5 easily. It feels like you’ve been gripped by some unknown yet magnetic force. It doesn’t let you go, like a chokehold and as you gasp for air you start to struggle less and fall under the spell of Girls Names. Stunning.
I’ve been listening to Arms Around A Vision most evenings for the past week, and I’m trying to pick a song out as my favourite. It’s impossible. Each song fits perfectly into the other, creating something quite poetic in the mind. It has this haunting feeling of The Cure’s Seventeen Seconds. That’s a record I’ve used a reference for so many. What I mean is, if a record or song moves me in the same way that Seventeen Seconds does, then I know I’ve found something I’ll be listening to for a long long time. Girls Names have easily created something influential with this record. They make you want to make your own noise, on your own terms. The dark and eerie atmosphere on this record is heavenly and it is quite easy to shut everything off around you and just play this over and over. Lose your mind over this record.
UK tour starts next week:
15/10 – Liverpool – The Shipping Forecast
16/10 – Leeds – Beacons Festival Headrow House
17/10 – Leicester – The Musician Pub
18/10 – Bristol – START THE BUS
19/10 – London – The 100 Club
21/10 – Brighton – The Hope & Ruin
Followed by European dates. If I had the £££ I’d LOVE to see them in Brussels. I adore Brussels and I’m pretty sure they are a band that would sound perfect there.
Arms Around A Vision is out now. Buy it.