January suddenly seems like a terribly long time ago, but if you can cast your mind back that far you may remember a remarkable album released just mere weeks into the then fresh, unsullied year that was 2014. Full of driving drums, doom-filled fuzz guitars and perfect monochrome vocal harmonies, September Girls’ debut album Cursing the Sea shot into the new year with all the excitement, vim and vigour of an outrageous New Year’s Eve party.
Critics rejoiced and new fans were birthed, kicking and screaming to the front rows of gigs and festivals across the globe. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Phil Spector, The Velvet Underground, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain, the five-piece play reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order and have been described as "a combination of razorwire guitar lines, thudding Moe Tucker beats and girl group melodicism".
Cursing the Sea garnered widespread coverage, with a Guardian New Band of the Day piece, NME radar and 8/10 review and a 4* review in The Fly as well as coverage in The Sunday Times, The Observer and Uncut. The Financial Times said that they were “like a less malevolent Jesus and Mary Chain – impressive power, conjuring exactly the right balance between noise and sweetness”, while Time Magazine no less named them as one of the 11 best new bands in the world.
As their year of triumph draws to a close, September Girls return with a brand new four track EP entitled Veneer, recorded deep underground in Guerilla Studios, Dublin. Whilst still retaining their signature drenched feedback sound the tracks have a greater depth and polish than the album recordings. Each of the four tracks is written and sung by a different member of the band. The perfect way to round off September Girls' incredible year, the Veneer EP builds on the foundations of Cursing The Sea to offer a tantalising glimpse into the band's future as purveyors of the finest dark-hearted pop in town.
"Where September Girls' debut earmarked them as the latest addition to the Dum Dum Girls/Vivian Girls school of Phil Spector worship, 'Veneer' finds the Irish quintet throwing off the '60s girl-group coyness in favour of something fiercer. The title track prowls along on a grinding bassline, and the distorted thrum and spoken-word vocals on 'Black Oil' recall 'Excellent Choice' from The Horrors' 'Strange House', minus the cartoonish element. 'Butterflies' takes The Cure at their most abrasive adds lush harmonies, and the imposing 'Melatonin' continues the reverb-laden Jesus And Mary Chain-isms that peppered their debut. Embittered and angry definitely suits September Girls"
"Eleven months after debut album Cursing the Sea established a September Girls-sound hewn from heavy reverb, fuzzy melodies and a moody noir complexion, Veneer steers the Dublin quintet into marginally darker and more turbulent waters. Though the title track buzzes with signature feedback, its mien is murkier and its hooks less immediate, suggesting the successes of the last year have had an emboldening effect.
Black Oil follows with a blizzard of distorted guitars and fevered, semi-spoken vocals, before Melatonin slinks into view with a nursery rhyme cadence that lurks just shy of the shadows. Only closing track Butterflies is found wanting, rounding out the EP in solid rather than exemplary fashion; otherwise, Veneer reveals a band seemingly growing in confidence by the day."
(4/5, The Skinny)
"Frantic, hazy and claustrophobic, their superb new EP instantly immerses the listener into the dark and murky waters of sound, at complete odds to their almost playground sing-song choruses and frankly beautiful vocal harmonies. Melatonin in particular sounds like the sort of song the twins from the shining would write if they grew up listening to Yes! Elsewhere on Black Oil, the spoken word vocal recalls, much missed Yorkshire-types The Long Blondes. It all adds up to a thrilling racket, perfectly walking the line between a riotous noise and a perfectly formed pop-song. Some might find the vocal delivery a touch too coy and knowing, but we’re grasping at straws here, the EP is excellent and their dark-take on a pop song is going to have something to love for almost everyone!"
(For The Rabbits)