Spin - "[T]hey took the opportunity to create their most audacious and aggressive music yet, and have emerged with a riskier, more abrasive, and phenomenal rock record."
Billboard - "The glue holding it all together is singer Dara Kiely, who'll take a laconic melody or unintelligible phrase and gradually ratchet up into shrieking, power-drill intensity..."
NME (Magazine) - "[With a] bewildering number of ideas crammed into each track and vocalist Dara Kiely's surreal and darkly comic lyrics..."
Paste (magazine) - "Girl Band's latest is a startling upending of any and all expectations you would dare place upon a modern rock group."
Recording information: Bow Lane, Dublin.
Following several well-received singles and EPs on the obscure Any Other City label, abrasive Dublin quartet Girl Band moved to Rough Trade for the release of their full-length debut Holding Hands with Jamie, but their music has by no means become more accessible. If anything, they sound harsher than ever. Alan Duggan's steely guitars pierce and singe, heading straight for where it hurts most and attacking, and causing an instant blackout by covering everything in sheets of noise. Dara Kiely's scowling, sour vocals seem to be shouted at least three feet away from the microphone at any given time, and are prone to aggressive, off-key wailing. The album rarely lets up from its sense of menacing paranoia; "In Plastic" ends up standing out simply because of its more relaxed tempo and controlled waves of swarming guitar. As with earlier releases, the album has a couple songs that stretch out to seven or eight minutes, allowing the band to fully explore demented, off-balance grooves that hammer the listener into submission. These tracks are balanced by the furious punk thrashing of the 80-second "The Last Riddler." The lyrics seem to be preoccupied with food, but the manner in which they're delivered doesn't make them sound appetizing. Holding Hands with Jamie is reminiscent of when Wolf Eyes signed to Sub Pop; instead of making their sound more palatable for a wider audience, they only ended up sounding uglier and more grotesque. Girl Band have similarly taken advantage of their expanded recording budget in order to craft their most bracing work yet. ~ Paul Simpson