record of the week | '3am rituals' | girlfriend

Girlfriend ~ '3am Rituals'
For fans of: Meanwhile Back In Communist Russia, Sister Ghost, The Smiths

When  My Bloody Valentine released 'Loveless', their sonic tsunami of a second album into the world, an unsuspecting public wasn't sure how to react. Trawling through the archives, one review compared it to 'A beautiful bomb, going off right in front of me' and it is with this in mind that we fast forward nearly 25 years later to the present day. 

Same city, different times, and as everything in the world continues to alter at a rapid pace, four young women in the north of Dublin refuse to accept the grim reality they are confronted; the result? '3am Rituals', their debut EP...

Opening with the raucous 'Kill Them All (Your Feelings)', the punk that lies at the heart of Girlfriend's music is given centre stage, with singer Hana Lamari's vocals cutting through a wall of distorted guitars. What's clear from early on is Girlfriend's unwillingness to channel any one genre or sound, an attitude '3am Rituals' benefits from to no end. Whilst the grit of Lamari's vocals command your attention, Girlfriend leave enough melody to keep this overdriven track firmly in your consciousness. There's echoes too of 'All We Know Is Falling' era Paramore, but with significantly more vitriol on display.

'Don't Come To My Funeral' then marks a complete change of pace, highlighting the versatility of this band. Be it a quiet lament to self doubt or an untouchable fear of the dark. it makes for one hell of a tune. Layered upon delicately haunting vocals and sounding straight off of a 'Meat is Murder' bootleg. This is followed by 'Pissbaby', the hidden gem of an EP full of them. The eclectic nature of this EP continues, as the songs central 90's fuzzed out riff floats through Lisa Rogers' hypnotic bass line. This is the track which had me falling in love with Girlfriend, and after repeated listens that love only strengthens.

'Nirvana Lodge' is a terrifying poem set to the most foreboding of riffs imaginable as Hana Lamari nearly breaks down at the mic, living inside the abstract world Girlfriend have painted themselves. Make no mistake, it's a fucked up tale, and makes no apologies for it.

"and he hates her, and he loves her"

'The Stuff You Think About Late At Night and Never Tell Anyone About' is the track most indebted to the EP's title, both in nature and sentiment. A dark glimpse into a haunted mind, the screams in the background make this entrancing listen hard to stomach, the pain is visceral, the scars still visible. Building to a crescendo their Dublin counterparts My Bloody Valentine would have been proud of, this may be the most brutally honest song of the year. Comprising of arguably the best lyrics on the record ("There's safety in self-destruction, because at least you know where you're gonna go"), 'The Stuff You Think About Late At Night..." will live with you long after you finish listening to this very important record.

In an ever changing world we need more beautiful bombs to explode around us. '3am Rituals' is one such beautiful bomb.

Taylor Johnson

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