The September Girls have something new to offer on the table. Or is it just an ode to the old? Hailing from Dublin, the feisty five-piece are not your average girl band – their sound is dubbed ‘noise pop’, inspired by the likes of Phil Spector and My Bloody Valentine. Whilst they are little known to the mainstream scene, their latest EP Veneer is set to explore and revive an alternative genre. It’s a solid effort that will sure have your interests peaking – or at least perking – from their grungy sound.
Not quite following the conventional band formula, each song is performed by a different member of the quintet. The EP kicks off with Veneer, sung by Caoimhe Derwin. Straight off we’re introduced to the September Girls’ garage rock vibe, with dirty guitars and crashing drums to match. You could describe it as edgy – in fact, it resembles an unfinished demo, which enhances the overall rawness of the track. It’s just a bit of a shame though, because Derwin’s voice is so altered by studio effects that her lyrics are effectively incomprehensible. Despite this, it’s still a head thrashing, foot stomping sort of rock anthem; an ode to early rockers such as Joan Jett and The Cure.
Similarly, Black Oil follows the same dark and brooding formula. Interestingly, the guitar riff has an underlying exotic element that’s not quite Arabian Nights, but not exactly metal either. It’s just hard rock, but with a September Girls twist. Over a cacophony of melodies comes the spoken word lyric: ‘if I could swim, I’d be dead by now.’ In singer Paula Cullen’s words, this is meant to represent ‘the acceptance of one’s limitations and the realisation that… your perceived shortcomings can be the thing that saves you.’ While this confronting performance does emit a level of vulnerability, this overall message is lost beneath the jumble of production. For a change, Melatonin has a much more relaxed feel, with unexpected rhythm changes that are flanked by bluesy riffs and ghostly vocals. For once we can actually make out some lyrics which, according to singer Jessie Ward, is meant to resemble a lullaby. But it’s hard to imagine falling asleep to this; Ward’s vocals are calming but childish, which only creates a haunting feel to this track.
Finally, the EP wraps up with Butterflies, another mid-tempo jam that includes a swell mixture of drums, guitar, and keyboard. The moaning vocals are courtesy of bandmate Lauren Kerchner, who pours a steady amount of pain and emotion towards the finish. There’s a bass solo which sends the track into a realm of both sinister and gothic, and an extended, grungy instrumental which carries on all the way to the end of the track.
The September Girls are certainly unconventional; in fact, they’re rather good at it. For those nostalgic for a certain breed of rock, look no further than Veneer. Noisy yet strangely comforting, it’s different enough to make you want to listen again.