September Girls – ‘Cursing The Sea’ Review

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“Expectation” they say “is the root of all heartache” but having followed Dublin five piece September Girls from their early days we did expect great things from their début album ‘Cursing The Sea.’  Formed in September 2011 by ex members of Talulah Does The Hula and The Chalets we’ve witnessed September Girls steadily evolve as a unit via live performances and a clutch of impressive single releases.  However even we didn’t anticipate just how ridiculously wonderful their début would actually be!

‘Cursing The Sea’ combines the glittering shimmer of classic 4AD/Creation Records shoegaze legends of yore with ghostly Goth girl- group harmonies, layered guitars, tribal beats and even a whiff of the dark menace of Siouxsie and The Banshees.

Album opener and title track ‘Cursing The Sea’ sounds so reminiscent of Lush you’d swear Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson were in the studio, whilst ‘Another Love Song’ and ‘Left Behind’ are object lessons in yearning dark beauty.  Singles ‘Green Eyed” Talking’ ‘Heartbeats’ and ‘Ships’ prove once more why this band have generated such a buzz and album closer ‘Sister’ in many ways encapsulates all that is great about these Dublin ladies.  A surging battery of agitated guitars swirl like angry wasps around the listener immersing the senses in a shimmering gauzy wash as an unsettling tale centred around victim blaming and rape unravels.

Those who complain that they find September Girls vocals pushed a little bit too far down in the mix somewhat miss the point as this is akin to bemoaning the fact that TS Eliot doesn’t write traditional prose.  ‘Cursing The Sea is all about creating an atmosphere, like shadows across the moon, whereby the vocal harmonies combine with the overall sound rather than lead the songs by the hand.  There’s also the desire to experiment with sound and reverb, to not go for the easy option of the formulaic pop song.  In doing so September Girls create something much more interesting than standard indie guitar pop and it’s an all-encompassing immersive experience that rewards and reveals hidden depths on repeated listens.

September Girls aesthetic is reflected perfectly in the iconic, beautifully realised cover art, which is certainly a match for any of the designs 4AD or Factory Records commissioned in their heyday.  It’s powerful, feminine, gives the impression of a band that means business and in many ways encapsulates the darkness and light that emanates from the album.

Whilst we wouldn’t wish to garland any new band with the “classic début” mantle, there is a strong argument to support the view that, through the lens of time ‘Cursing The Sea‘ could be viewed as such.  Instead, for now, we’ll stay on safer ground and simply state this is a stunning début that succeeds on every level.

9.5/10

read our interview from 2012

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Andy Von Pip

ANDY VON PIP - Founder, editor, writer, reviewer, photographer and all-round good guy at the VPME.com. House photographer for The Academy Music Group, Zuma Press, Event Magazine and Rex Features worldwide. You can check out his photography at Andy Von Pip Photography Has been new music tipster on BBC6 Music, Amazing Radio, and DJ on Strangeways Radio (USA.) Can currently be heard on IWFM Radio. His radio work has been described as sounding like Ian McCulloch on ketamine fused with Ringo Starr. New music tipster on Amazing Radio, moderator for BBC 6 Music DJ Tom Robinson's Fresh on the Net, former member of "BBC's Sound Of" panel. Written and photographic work has appeared in The Quietus, Music Week, Record Of The Day, The Guardian, GIITV, The Sabotage Times, Bido Lito, The Skinny, Louder Than War. Media partner and curator for Liverpool Sound City.

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