ALBUM REVIEW: Girls In Synthesis – Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future (Harbinger Sound)
This is the debut proper album from Girls In Synthesis, a post-punk trio who have been creating quite a stir in London town for the past two or three years with their high-intensity live shows.
Originally scheduled for a May release, it was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s certainly worth the wait. GIS do have one long-player to their name, Pre/Post: A Collection 2016-2018, which gathered tracks from a series of ultra-limited 7in singles, but this is their first album proper, on the same label that gave us Sleaford Mods.
In equal parts frantic, considered, ear-splitting and melodic, the band take their cues from the early DIY punk and post-punk pioneers. But as well as the tried and tested recipe of guitar, bass and drums, their songs variously feature cornet, violin, trumpet and saxophone.
This experimentation has seen them leave the early post-punk label behind and become something unique, producing a harsh, noise-punk sound which mixes elements of ’80s anarcho bands with modern groups like Slaves.
There’s melody here somewhere, but you often have to dig deep to find it beneath a barrage of slashing guitar, bludgeoning drums and pounding bass. The 10 slices of noise here won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I think they’re magnificent.
Opener Arterial Movements comes at you like a train, the rhythm section driving it forward beneath jagged guitar, but if you think that’s intense wait until you hear Pressure, which is even more frenzied. The first single released from the album, it is propelled by a grumbling bassline, tribal drums, lots of reverb and unbridled rage.
Another single, the Crass-like The Images Agree, is next, and there’s no let up in the intensity. It’s a ferocious slab of post-punk anger, with dissonant guitar and cutting lyrics, which leaves you almost breathless.
Eeven though there’s only three of them – Jim on guitar and vocals, John on bass and vocals, and Nicole on drums – Girls In Synthesis are a band of immense power.
That much is evident on Human Frailty, which has a dark, post-apocalyptic feel, and adds squally violin to the mix, while the abrasive They’re Not Listening takes aim at career politicians who play games with people’s lives.
Cause For Concern is built around another jarring bassline, tribal drums and shards of piercing guitar, while Coming Up For Air has you doing just that amid the screams of “suffocation…isolation!”.
Set Up To Fail is slower, built around the sort of repetition that The Fall made a career of, with discordant brass added to the barrage, while the closing Tirades Of Hate And Fear leaves you utterly exhausted, but needing to listen to the whole glorious noise all over again.
Girls In Sythesis have been a fairly well-kept secret until now, and this sonic assault isn’t an easy listen in places, but isn’t that what making great art is all about?
If there’s been a better album released this year I haven’t heard it. Watch them follow the likes of Slaves, IDLES and Fontaines DC into the mainstream when people realise just how good this is. 9/10.