Music

ALT-ROCK

Girl Band, ‘Holding Hands With Jamie’

The traditional guitar-bass-drums-vocals setup of a rock band allows for some assumptions to be made about the resulting sound — power chords, 1-2-3-4 count-offs, that sort of thing. But the Irish foursome Girl Band explodes those expectations on its thrilling debut. Vocalist Dara Kiely has a delivery that’s simultaneously laconic and supercharged; on the stringy, urgent “Pears for Lunch” he stretches vowel sounds like Silly Putty, while his monologue on “Texting an Alien” is buried enough in the mix to serve as an additional rhythmic element. His bandmates approach their instruments from similarly skewed places; guitarist Alan Duggan conjures mechanically powered objects — malfunctioning car ignitions, washing machines that keep spinning even though they’ve run dry — while bassist Daniel Fox and drummer Adam Faulkner keep the pace taut. By reinventing the idea of what a guitar-centric band should sound like from the bottom up, Girl Band has established itself as a much-needed force in rock, and “Holding Hands With Jamie” is among most exhilarating opening salvos of 2015.


MAURA JOHNSTON

ESSENTIAL “Pears for Lunch”

Maura Johnston can be reached at maura@maura.com.
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