Alex Lebl, Contributing Writer
Since Girls Names is currently one of the most hyped bands in the United Kingdom, I figured it would be worth my time to give it a listen. Its previous release, 2011’s Dead To Me, put the band on the map, and its sophomore release has really made the band explode among the British music-journalism crowd.
When I first heard this new record, I thought it was a different band; there was no way the bright, harmonizing band from Dead To Me was the same band that produced such a bleak, dark album. The New Life is easily one of the darkest albums I have listened to over the past two years, so if you are ever in a mood to feel sorry for yourself, this is the album to play.
The album sees Girls Names attempting to fit into another musical movement from the past: the goth movement. If you were not aware that Girls Names was playing as you were listening to it, you might easily mistake it for The Cure or The Smiths.
But therein lies the problem: This album doesn’t distinguish itself from other albums within the genre. There is nothing really exceptional about it; it’s not terrible, but it’s not great, either. The New Life functions perfectly as background music, which would be great for a post-rock or ambient album, but I don’t think that background noise is what Girls Names was going for.
By far the best tracks on the album are “A Second Skin” and “Notion,” which show that the band can be somewhat creative within the confines they have set for themselves, and illustrate a great blend of the post-punk sound and a full pedalboard. “The Olympia” is another of the better songs on the album, but tracks like “Pittura Infamante,” “Hypnotic Regression” and “Projektion” go in one ear and out the other. Even if you are a huge fan of this type of music, this album does not really bring enough to the table to place it above and beyond any of the classics.
If you are looking for something to play in the background when you are having a bad day, this is a great album for you, but if you are looking to listen to a great album, then I would look elsewhere, because, unfortunately, Girls Names does not live up to the hype. 6/10.