Belfast’s Girls Names put out a solid debut of shoegaze guitar-fueled jangle pop back in 2011, which also hinted at an appreciation of the darker side of post-punk, as was especially evident on the video for their song “Bury Me.” Two years later, on their sophomore return effort titled The New Life, the band can be heard having made a somewhat unexpected departure from past material towards a minimally-inspired dream pop and early goth rock sound; rest assured, though, as judging by the album stream made available by Slumberland, it could turn out to be more than a welcome departure. Their new sound exhibits a more disciplined confidence and maturity, even as they stake out and explore new musical territories.
Much in the way debut Dead To Me demonstrated a thorough grasp of the indie pop and shoegaze genres, The New Life effectively elicits the darker sounds of the early to mid-80s coming out of the UK. The opening pedal echoes of album highlight “Hypnotic Regression” themselves echo those which characterized the proto-shoegaze duo of Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding of The Chameleons, before morphing into the driving post-post punk of The Comsat Angels or The Mission. Elsewhere, “Pitura Infamante” mines the more dance-pop stylings commonly found in the mid-80s, when even bands like The Lords of the New Church and March Violets displayed a potent New Wave influence, and the title track recalls the minimalist restraint, yet evocative power of Adrian Borland’s The Sound.
Listen to the entire album over at Slumberland’s SoundCloud.