Girls in Synthesis – Suburban Hell EP (Blank Editions, 2017)

I got approached out of the blue over this one, and asked to review it by John from the band. I obviously agreed to it, but was well aware it can often be a bit strange when shit like this happens. You typically have absolutely no idea what to expect in these situations. It’s a bit “yes please Mr., I dearly would like to see some puppies!!”

Not being one to let anything like uncertainty get in the way, I thought I’d get right to it. I got a nicely presented, minimalist press release. The cover artwork is stark, and features a suitably gloomy photograph of the George Cross flying above a prefab garage. For some reason, I was put in mind of the artwork that was used for some of Karate’s albums back in the times of yore (Some Boots and In Place of Real Insight). The kind of approach of saying quite a bit, whilst remaining a bit understated.

If like me, you’d missed out on their previous release, The Mound / Disappear, which came out in March this year, you might be idly wondering something like “So what do Girls in Synthesis” sound like then? It’s… I suppose something of a post punk kind of affair. The sound here is along the lines of what you’d expect a carbuncled bunch of fucks like Crass to make if they released an album of Fugazi covers. Kind of relentless, with an underlying groove.

The vocal delivery kinda reminds me of that guy from Sleaford Mods, Jason Williamson. The lyrical content lacks the bleakly sarcastic sense of humour that Williamson’s characteristic stream of consciousness ranting demonstrates. However, it is bleak in its own way, and describes the misery of urban existence from a somewhat different stance. The concept of being pursued and/or beaten by ‘gangs of lads’ or whatever for being ‘not a scrote’ or similar, is entirely relatable. However, as a 40 year old, I can’t help but wonder if this is a bit of an old school concept these days, in these times of blurred subcultures and whatnot. Times are surely different from the days of my youth, when being a bit different certainly carried a borderline death sentence, so I’m a bit unsure of how ‘real’ this feels. Something for people younger than me to decide, I suppose.

So how do I feel about it overall? It’s not my typical kind of thing. As regular readers know, I like my shit to be straight ahead, and don’t go in for what I class as ‘art school’ bands (no offence intended). I think I’d prefer to hear more Joy Division in this, and less Killing Joke. Having said this, it is refreshing to hear someone doing a more ‘up to date’ take on this noisy sub-style of post punk. There’s a nice edge of morbidity to the sound of this that I quite enjoyed. Them moody atmospherics, mate.

People that are less set in their ways than I am (and I can definitely think of a few of the top of my head) will definitely get a kick out of this, and I feel like they’ll have a pretty strong impact live. Which is handy, as they are playing a couple of gigs in the next couple of weeks:
03/11/17- Shacklewell Arms, London (w. Bad Breeding & Revenue)
18/11/17- Suburban Hell E.P Launch Party, at Gun Factory, London

Listen on the bandcamp player below:

You can pre-order the 7in here
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