Sunday, April 24, 2011

Girls Names - Dead To Me review

The tough-to-Google Belfast band, Girls Names recently did an interview with Ragged Words in which lead singer, Cathal Cully, claimed that his band was the only one making "this sort of music" in Ireland.   He went on to say, "Seriously, to the masses of Belfast this is not cool music. Due to the internet now, though, geography isn’t as important any more, is it?"

I can't speak for the music scene in Ireland, but I have to disagree with Cully on the issue of the importance of geography.  No one may listen to the lo-fi noise pop Girls Names proudly tout as being unique and original in Ireland, but the fact of the matter is that people do listen to it stateside.  When every other band that comes out of Brooklyn is also a fuzzy, washed out version of the band who came before it, you're going to be in for some stiff competition.

The debut album from Girls Names, Dead To Me, is here and it's...adequate.  The band garnered some attention by signing to U.S. label/indie music haven Captured Tracks (home of the likes of Beach Fossils, Wild Nothing, and a bunch of other bands that either formed or relocated to Brooklyn, NY), and even some kind words from Pitchfork.  The problem is that they sound just like Beach Fossils, et al.  Dead To Me is competent, but it is far from being interesting or unique.  In a genre that is so over saturated as it is, bands like Girls Names need to do something special in order to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Unfortunately, Girls Names fail to do this.  Any of their songs could have easily appeared on a Crystal Stilts record and no one would be the wiser.  When your music is that interchangeable and virtually indistinct from your competitors it should be a red flag, but Girls Names seem oblivious to the fact that they are setting themselves up to be forgotten.  Cathal Cully's eerie croon and the scratchy, bedroom recorded guitars are indiscernible, with every song being buried underneath a hazy, muddiness that is meant to be passed off as atmosphere.  Instead, they only serve to obscure any subtle hooks or catchy melodies, effectively making every song a chore to listen to.  Granted, Girls Names are foreign and they came to the lo-fi noise pop rock party a little late, but its no excuse for being stale and unoriginal.

Girls Names - "I Lose" by Tough Love

Girls Names Dead To Me

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