# 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 - Age of Indignation

  by Adrian Janes

published: 27 / 4 / 2016

September Girls - Age of Indignation
Label: Fortuna POP!
Format: CD


Brave post-punk on second album from challenging all female group, September Girls

John Lydon’s observation “Anger is an energy” is encapsulated in the second album from Dublin’s September Girls, their fierce ire turned upon themes like the position of women and religion, and the fraught connection between them. The nail-sharp guitars, pounding drums and reverbed vocals that flowed on ‘Cursing the Sea’, their debut, recognisably return here. But with a superior production has also come stronger songs and more confident playing. Not that any of these qualities were exactly lacking first time around, but September Girls have simply got better at what they do, allowing them to realise more ambitious music. Opener ‘Ghost’ demonstrates all of this. A chilly guitar and bass intro that evokes Siouxsie and the Banshees becomes driven by fuzzy, early Joy Division rhythm guitar, the darkness of the music set against impassioned harmonies. Conducted along a passage of guitar and guided by spectral, mysterious vocals, organ leads the mounting intensity before the track settles unsettlingly on the solemn guitar notes which began it. Though it’s over six minutes long, the movement between punk, post-punk and psychedelic phases is successfully negotiated. ‘Age of Indignation’ itself is an angry reflection on the hall of distorting mirrors that so-called social media often turns out to be. It launches without ceremony into an emotional maelstrom of guitar, organ, drums and voice. The target seems to be both general (“Going round in circles/Too much information/It’s a cloak and dagger/Age of indignation”) and as personal as stalking, the singer repeating “I will never love you - no”, though this seems to confuse the issue as surely it’s trolling and the level of abuse and threat women receive via Twitter, etc that is one of the worst aspects of social media. But if the lyrics are maybe not as focused as they could be, the pressure-cooker power of the music is undeniable, the only disappointment being the seemingly arbitrary fade-out. But if one song had to be chosen from this album to show why you should listen to it all, ‘Love No One’ is it. Bursting in, fast and tom-tom heavy, gorgeous swathes of reverbed guitar sweep through while the girls’ harmonies throw the music’s darkness into sharper relief. With its distinctive melody and a coda of stratospheric guitar, this is a really outstanding track. ‘Jaw on the Floor’ and ‘Catholic Guilt’ are both animated by political passion and the urge to resist oppressive powers. Lauren Kerchner’s organ playing has been generally brought more to the fore than on ‘Cursing the Sea’, especially enriching the first of these which, combined with its distorted female/male vocals and fuzz guitar, has a sort of ‘Strange Days’ feel to it, only energised rather than enervated. ‘Catholic Guilt’ doesn’t flow as well, jumping between bursts of penitential thrash and more contemplative verses, although again the sheer commitment of the band and even a touch of tart humour in some parodical choir-like singing help to redeem it. While much of the album exists at a high energy level, ‘Salvation’ is an intriguing slower number. The music is as stark as the situation described in the lyrics, which put the female at its centre in a place of “No conscience/No sympathy”, of “Institutionalised violation/No salvation”. The lack of specifics about her condition suggests various scenarios (a religious cult? A psychiatric hospital? Police interrogation?) all imaginable, which in itself is maybe what is most chilling of all. Using the album’s most explicitly religious language, ‘John of Gods’, which seems to be a direct plea to God on behalf of some sort of martyr - maybe the martyrdom of addiction and breaking free of it, there being a Dublin hospital of this name which treats addicts - powers through on a variation of the Bo Diddley beat and an exceptionally strong instrumental break in which, although guitar predominates, the support of organ, bass and drums is also vital. This is a characteristic the band have carried on from ‘Cursing’: although they are good and increasingly adept musicians, no one ever takes the lead for long enough to detract from the others. The compassion of these last two songs shows also that it’s a feeling which doesn’t exclude anger, indeed the one can stem from the other. September Girls would probably argue that, even now, a woman is permitted to express only the softer emotion, but in their music they are showing a way to combine both. Girls allowed? These women are seeking no-one’s permission.

Track Listing:-
1 Ghost
2 Jaw on the Floor
3 Catholic Guilt
4 Blue Eyes
5 Age of Indignation
6 Love No One
7 Salvation
8 John of Gods
9 Quicksand
10 Wolves

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