Released a couple of months ago, Our Girl’s debut album ‘Stranger Today’ received wall to wall plaudits for it’s spirited attempt at combining, and modernising, grunge and shoe-gazing guitar sounds whilst uniting them with dreamy pop melodies. Stylistic cousins of My Bloody Valentine and Best Coast, ‘Stranger’ was a triumph for it’s raw, precise and dangerous sounds, as well as it’s moments of tenderness.
With one challenge met (writing and creating a great debut) however, another, perhaps even harder one, comes along (recreating the sounds live and living up to people’s raised expectations). How do you recreate an almost perfect debut album driven by layered guitar sounds and hard-to-reach vocals without needing to employ an army of extra musicians? Seemingly by turning the volume up and using heavy modulation of course.
Our Girl’s live success is driven by two factors, well three but we’ll discount the songs for a moment; heart-breaking sounds that only distorted, loud guitars, can make and soulful, dream state, noises from Soph Nathan’s voice. Combined they form the basis of a live sound that blends together high art, musical complexity and killer tunes; reminding us that precise guitar techniques alone do not create a great live show, they need to be backed by unique melodies and something interesting to say.
Tonight’s highlight ‘I really like it’ is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of Our Girl’s combination of intense anger and inner sadness; maybe the root of their song writing success. Starting as an arpeggio driven, light, guitar sound about, well, liking someone, ‘like it’ builds into a rollocking, wall of sound, attack on someone who isn’t treating us correctly. Angry in it’s delivery, and the way the band play their instruments, the track is both soft and heavy, loud and quiet, loving and full of hatred at the same time. As Our Girl prove tonight their strength is their ability to show both sides of a character; the one we want others to see, and the one we try to hide. Both sides are explosive to watch.