# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

September Girls - Cursing the Sea

  by Adrian Janes

published: 18 / 12 / 2013

September Girls - Cursing the Sea
Label: Fortuna POP!
Format: CD


Compelling alternative rock on debut album from Dublin all-women band, September Girls

Starting as they mean to go on, with the title track September Girls - an all-women band from Dublin - establish a sound which typifies this album: jangling, naggingly melodic guitars, thudding drums, and reverb-immersed vocals that are reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine in the way they value emotional atmosphere over literal understanding. Even more of an influence than MBV are the Jesus and Mary Chain’s Phil Spector in a multi-storey garage sound, circa ‘Psychocandy’. But with exclusively female singers (all bar drummer Sarah Grimes write and sing) and adroit keyboards, something is created that pushes beyond mere imitation. For my money it’s those songs which stress their rock roots, rather than the poppier, less dramatic numbers like ‘Heartbeats’ and ‘Talking‘, that find the Girls at their best. The powerful ‘Left Behind’ features a Dick Dale-type guitar set against single sharp notes, the haunting harmonies on the chorus heightening its disturbed, urgent feel. ‘Green Eyed’ is even stronger, an arrangement of intertwined guitars with a calculated throw of keyboards over the top, while Paula Cullen’s scuzzy fuzz bass contrasts darkly with the lightness of the vocals. Other standouts include “Daylight’, with its shadowy chords and piercing keyboard, the early Banshees-style pounding beat and intricately fierce guitar of ‘Money’, and on ‘Ships’, the simultaneous contrasts of delicate guitar, ragged reggae rhythm slashes and relentless drums and bass, subtle keyboard seeping through everything. Final track ‘Sister’ is said to be about “rape and victim-blaming”. With the vocals typically distant, the lyrics remain largely elusive, but from its grim bass foundation onwards the intensity builds with hammered guitars, questing keyboard and skittering snare, to the point where the band reach a peak of full power. The feelings of rage and pain are clear even if the words are not. Female musicians have often criticised the egotism of their male equivalents, and there are indeed no solos on this record. September Girls instead put together tapestries that use the aural equivalent of filigree and barbed wire. I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more all-women rock bands, instead of a female musical spectrum dominated by strong solo artists at one end (such as Patti Smith and P. J. Harvey), and vapid eye-candy like Little Mix and Girls Aloud at the other. Of course there must be various reasons for this (industry sexism, lack of role models, social pressures, etc.), but in the end the best solution must simply be for women to go ahead despite the obstacles, as September Girls have done. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where a group’s gender composition is not even something particularly worth remarking on, and we can simply focus on the fact of remarkable albums. Thankfully the Girls appear to be something of a rising wave, along with others like Savages and Warpaint. ‘Cursing the Sea’ lifts them to the crest of that wave.

Track Listing:-
1 Cursing the Sea
2 Another Love Song
3 Left Behind
4 Heartbeats
5 Green Eyed
6 Ships
7 Talking
8 Daylight
9 Money
10 Someone New
11 Secret Lovers
12 Sister

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