Since forming in 2011, Dublin’s Gilla Band (fka Girl Band) have only grown more challenging and uncompromising with each new release.
The quartet’s penchant for angular, dissonant noise and abstract, stream of consciousness lyricism had been well-established even prior to the release of their debut LP Holding Hands With Jamie. However, 2019’s follow-up The Talkies saw the band straying further down the path, with increased influence from the realms of industrial music and techno, producing somethng that was somehow darker and murkier than what came before, but also more vital.
Most Normal, the band’s third full-length release and first since changing their name, sees Gilla Band offer up the somehow danceable post-punk we’ve grown accustomed to but with some new tricks. Their most accessible offering to date, the fuzzed out guitar tones and bewildering mid-song left turns are all there but delivered in a punchier, hookier way than we’ve ever heard before.
Opening with the harsh white noise of ‘The Gum’, which sees frontman Dara Kiely wailing like a man possessed over a deafening electronic whirr, this quickly gives way to some of the group’s most distilled work to date on the fast fashion blasting ‘Eight Fivers’ and the frenetic Krautrock of ‘Backwash’.
The Fall, big beat and IDM prove to be touchstones throughout Most Normal, particularly on the motorik driven ‘Bin Liner Fashion’, the stuttering lurch of ‘Red Polo Shirt’ and non-sequitors of the Ryanair chastising ‘Capgras’ (Once upon a – SHUT UP). It’s all very chaotic, but this is the world Gilla Band thrives in – bending the scree and fire and mess to their will and organising it however they see fit.
It’s a jarring listen; familiarly ugly yet deceptively catchy, forcing the listener to overcome a mountain of cacophony only to both reward with moments of accessibility and suck them into sonic and verbal wormholes. That such weird and wonderful sounds can be coaxed out of beat combo instruments is a marvel.