Girls Names – Arms Around A Vision

Belfast natives Girls Names have been making slow and resolute progress since their formation in 2009. With a clutch of EPs and a brace of albums behind them, third album Arms Around A Vision bears the mark of a band who have finally arrived at a sound that has their own defiant stamp.

Their last record ‘The New Life’ was a bold attempt at shifting away from the more generic leanings of their earlier recordings;  Arms Around A Vision is the sound of a band comfortable in their new skin – the discordant jangle of the giddy instrumental album intro segues neatly into the clean lines and Post Punk snarl of ‘Reticence’.

‘An Artificial Spring’ surges forth, a blaze of brash, punkish noise, reminiscent of one of the godfathers of the original Post Punk scene, Magazine. Singer Cathal Cuddy sounds like a graduate of the Nick Cave/Mark E Smith/ Ian Curtis school of rock – he slurs and spits out his words with bags of attitude and more than a little brattish venom. Songs like ‘Desire Oscillations’ and ‘A Hunger Artist’ lock neatly into a pleasing Krautrock groove, while ‘Malaga’ is taut and tightly wound,  ready to cut loose.

‘Dysmorphia’ is drenched in howling feedback, another track that threatens to unleash hell, but is held in check. Throughout the record, the band show a willingness to explore new sonic terrain, to push their sound in different directions, without ever losing their focus. In terms of their contemporaries, the create a noise not too dissimilar to Danish outfit Iceage, drawing from the same pool of influences. What the album might lack in terms of a real standout killer track is more than compensated for by the cohesive, uniform strength of the twelve songs contained here.

Arms Around A Vision is a big leap forward for Girls Names; it’s an album that reveals new hooks and hidden pleasures with each listen. It sounds fresh and exciting without resorting to cheap tricks and crowd pleasing thrills, a rewarding and sometimes thrilling re-invention of the Post Punk genre.


3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)