While it may be extremely easy to write about Girls Names, based on the fact that they fit right into the musical landscape as it currently stands, it’s almost impossible to get their latest effort out of your head. Being released by Slumberland, Dead to Me displays a band that’s sharpened their knives, ready to go to work crafting infectious pop you can bounce about to while working on pretty much anything that comes your way.
One of the great things about Dead to Me is that you aren’t likely to get bogged down listening to one particular track over and over again, as only two songs go beyond the 3 minute mark. “Lawrence” begins it all with that jagged club dance guitar, but the drums themselves sound as if you’re tapping your toes, not like your normal snare work. And that just takes you right along to another track that gives you a little bit of pep in the step, though “I Could Die” has a much more gritty guitar that hammers throughout those hypnotic melodies. Strikingly, the guitar, at times, has a sunny disposition, which is odd considering the group hails from Belfast, not Cali, but you’ll be glad they’re utilizing such style.
“No More Words” takes a softer approach to the craft of Girls Names, as Neil Brogan’s vocals warmly float over the entire track. It’s not like you’ll find too much different here, but Brogan manages to off-set the pep by slowly drawing out his vocals, which might remind listeners of early work by Tim Cohen. Still, it’s all done in short time, so you’re sort of taking at shot in the dark at finding various textures, that is until you get to the longest track on Dead to Me, “I Lose.” There’s a cloudy coat that barely drapes itself over this song, and the guitar’s are furiously pumping through the track, and you can tell that this isn’t just your ordinary stab at rehashing things that have come before the band. It’s at this point, while noticing the differences, that you can clearly say you see the Girls Names as a fully functioning entity.
There’s likely to be comparisons to band’s like Crystal Stilts, especially after listening to the record’s single “Seance on a Wet Afternoon.” There’s a darkness to the track, and one that likely permeates from the title Dead to Me, but perhaps it’s not fair to lump the band in with anyone else. Brogan clearly has similarities to other dark crooners of the pop cannon, but his performance here makes it’s own mark, often feeling a bit unsteady, but in a heartening manner. Surely by this point, if you’ve made it through all ten tracks as you should have, then you’ll recognize that it’s simply a joy to involve yourself with Girls Names. They’ve worked hard to tighten up the unit, flesh out the sound, and it pays off huge dividends for both the band and listeners alike.
Download: Girls Names – Seance on a Wet Afternoon [MP3]