★ ★ ★ ★
The Talkies is Girl Band’s much anticipated return to the fray after a 4-year hiatus, and it cements their status as one of Dublin’s strongest exports. Abrasive and confrontational, the howling vocals of frontman Dara Kiely are contrasted with brutal, discordant guitar lines that tear through the mix. Even the opener – heavy breathing played over a looping, repetitive synth – is immediately discomforting and sets the album’s tone.
The lyrics, at first glance, appear indecipherable and even nonsensical. The album’s lengthiest track, ‘Prefab Castle’, evokes memories of grim, squat schoolyard buildings – not simply due to its title, but its gibbering allusions to the Irish teenage experience – “Face framed by fringe by fridgets, snook chewing gums in a mouth disco”. When these rants are combined with lurching riffs and repetitive, droning synths, the album cultivates an atmosphere of profound dread and confusion.
‘Going Norway’ injects tired post-punk trappings with a healthy dose of noise as Kiely croons along to a stuttering, slowly chugging guitar. Rather than having shorter pieces like ‘Akineton’ and ‘Amygedela’ act as a buffer to the unrelenting violence of the longer tracks, they simply contribute to the chaos on show. The Talkies is an uncompromising, fantastic entry in their discography.
Matthew Derwin – Music Editor