September Girls‘ second album ‘Age of Indignation’ is the album you’d hope they make for a follow up. Debut albums tend to be an amalgamation of influences and ‘Cursing The Sea’ had a fierce sonic dirge Jesus and Mary Chain as if recorded by Kevin Shields and Phil Spectre. ‘The Age of Indignation’ is an altogether more expansive long player that leaves the formative sound of their debut album behind. The contrast in their sonic realignment is noticeable from first track Ghost.
The lead guitar is stark and rings ominously before extra instrumentation is gradually layered upon it. It’s towards end of Ghost is when it truly signals the new shift in September Girls sound. The tension is ratcheted up as a guitar coda reverberates and captures the glorious distortion of Sonic Youth. Mixed in with this are flourishes of Lauren Kerchner’s ear-pricking church organ keys.
Said keys are more prominent in the sound mix on ‘Age of Indignation’ than on ‘Cursing The Sea’, and there is an extra layer of depth throughout the songs this time around. It could be subtle keys layer in the background a la title track Age of Indignation or more prominent like on Catholic Guilt. The clearer production helps bring it to the fore.
With a song title like the aforementioned Catholic Guilt you’d be right to assume September Girls are lyrically not going to hold back – anger is vented at the church’s view towards women “you say this is for our own protection”. Elsewhere a swipe is taken at the dark underbelly of social media on Age of Indignation: “breeding degradation/ tell me who will harbour your humiliation”. There is still room for dealing with being in sour relationships as on the up tempo Quicksand: “You make weak at the knees/ then you cut me down”.
Like on previous September Girls releases, singing duties are shared across the album but the overall vocal tone is consistent no matter who is on lead. For the most case the music is more prominent in the mix and grabs the focus. Their sound is much more their own as they gradually move away from their influences and lyrically it carries more weight.
The ‘Age of Indignation’ is an altogether more confident and fully realised record from September Girls.