It's Different For Girls
girls names
The New Life
The best albums are the ones that come at you straight out of the blue and one that certainly did that this year, claiming our number three spot, was The New Life by Belfast's Girls Names, the record also topping our list of releases from Ireland compiled by our Dublin correspondent Aidan who found it "dark and hypnotic, anchored with spacious drum patterns and moody bass lines. This album grips from the onset; Cathal Cully’s dark lyrical landscapes are draped with guitar riffs that are delicate in parts and ferocious in others." The difference between the new release and the band's debut album Dead To Me was startling, the latter's more traditional indie approach being replaced by a darker vision, embracing the post punk sounds of Factory as well as hints of ambient and krautrock. And when Girls Names took their new album to the road, they blew us all away.

Dead To Me was quite a jangly record and the band appeared to disown it almost as soon as it was released. What brought about the change of direction? Was there a road to Damascus moment??

I think it was a matter of Dead to Me being released a year after it was recorded and the band starting to move on in the meantime. I wasn't in the band at the time.


There are some obvious references in the Kraftwerk-esque photos, the Eno cover and the Bowie artwork - what other influences were at work when you made The New Life? Was there an underlying vision or theme?

Well you've mentioned some obvious touch points, I'd say the greater influences on the record were non-musical however.


You toured the album extensively around the UK and Europe. How did the band go down and how did you find the travelling? You seemed really pleased with the size of the crowd and the reaction at Brighton - we thought it was a great gig and an interestingly different audience. We think you may have captured a niche with your sound - perhaps only Toy are doing something similar?

Well, generally the UK can't compare to the reaction we receive when playing in Europe, though it's improving. Brighton was a great night, and we definitely ended that UK run on a high, though it had it's ups and downs. The travelling is OK, but worse with hangovers. It gets pretty mundane when you have a book, music, flashing landscapes and service station interiors to stimulate you. Over a journey that could last up to twelve hours topics of conversation soon dry up with a lack of new things to talk about. All in day's work though ... A niche? Perhaps. I'm not sure if we're really going to stick around in the same place for long though. We all like TOY, and they were especially great when we saw them at SXSW earlier this year, but I'm personally wary of making such comparisons with any other band. We're not interested in finding a peer group.


Did the album make the impact you were hoping? We see 'Drowned in Sound' rightly had you in their top thirty albums of the year which was great.

Yeah, 'Drowned in Sound' have been good to us this year. I think the reaction has been pretty positive and leaves us in a better position than we were this time last year. We're playing more shows and being busier than we ever have been, so I'd measure any impact along those lines. Thanks for having us at number three, too.


Our part of England is certainly alive with loads of great new post punk bands and we do regular features on Dublin where there is an amazing amount of talented bands at the moment. Is the same happening in Belfast? What is the scene like in the city?

Belfast is pretty stagnant. There are a few good bands and artists knocking about but the majority are 'MOR' indie and rock acts with some meat and potatos punk and metal bands thrown in too. I don't really pay attention to be honest.


What are the plans for the new year? Is there a new album on the horizon? Have you managed to write anything through the busy year you've had?

The plan is to work on new songs and play some shows. We've been playing around with a few ideas in the practice space, its just a matter of honing them and bringing some other things to the table. Rest isn't in our vocabulary.

Interview Adam, top picture from Girls Names Facebook page.

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