Biologically speaking, the sensations of pleasure and pain are closely related, and Ireland’s Girl Band (a deliciously noisy quartet that is, naturally, all-male) straddles that line with no small amount of glee. On its full-length debut, Holding Hands With Jamie, the act mixes throat-shredding screams, jackhammer rhythms and shards of fuzz with abrupt drops into near-silence. The glue holding it all together is singer Dara Kiely, who’ll take a laconic melody or unintelligible phrase and gradually ratchet up into shrieking, power-drill intensity while the instruments follow his lead. But just as remarkable is how the band turns a plinking noise or shambolic bassline (like on “Pears for Lunch” or “In Plastic”) into a hook as catchy as virtually any indie rock song out there. Reference points include Liars and The Fall, but Girl Band is very much its own beast.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 3 issue of Billboard.