September Girls

Cursing the Sea

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Dublin, Ireland-based indie quintet September Girls followed the same initial trajectory as many of their noise pop contemporaries. Coming together in 2011, the group quickly developed a reverb-heavy sound drawing on equal parts melodic pop and dour goth undercurrents, accentuated by keyboardist Lauren Kerchner's looming Farfisa drones. Early tracks leaked out on quickly devoured cassettes and 7" releases and September Girls' profile grew as they played increasingly buzzworthy gigs. All of this brings us to Cursing the Sea, the debut album from these shadowy punkers, a 12-song tome of echo-dripping production and emotional cross currents of restlessness and despondency. September Girls fit nicely into the camp of more established acts traversing similar waters; the same Jesus and Mary Chain buzzsaw guitars and reverb chamber drum sounds have shown up in countless other acts, in particular earlier fare from Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Crocodiles. Dark, cloudy vocal harmonies are utilized nicely on tracks like "Talking" and "Heartbeats," the latter of which is the catchiest song on the album and arguably its strongest highlight. Likewise, "Someone New" taps into the twee side of the band's mostly void-of-sunshine sound, with a brightly fuzzy melody that recalls Tiger Trap or Talulah Gosh. More sprawling goth tendencies show up on the dungeon-dwelling crawl of "Daylight," a hung-over slab of dissonance and resolution. Despite some interesting moments and a few standout tracks, the album drags on as it goes, the oversaturated reverb and tinfoil guitar tones becoming more and more grating and the songs sounding increasingly samey. While the template of dark, reverb-heavy goth punk revivalism has worked well for a crop of indie bands, September Girls sound like a copy of a copy of a copy, not quite reaching the heights of their immediate predecessors, let alone the classic bands they're all aiming for.

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