In music, there’s ‘raw’ and there’s ‘Gilla Band raw’. Suffocating, visceral anxiety not just in the words, but in the music too. Where an ordinary conversation or a trip to buy new jeans feels like the world is about to crumble. ‘Most Normal’ is as Gilla Band raw as they come. And while it sounds exhausting, the way Dara Kiely and co capture the feeling of the inexplicable is something you want to consume you. It’s a test, sure: ‘The Gum’ pummels with stuttering distortion, Dara inaudibly screaming, before the whole thing descends into a carnivalesque orchestra of bicycle horns. And that’s just the opener. But ‘Most Normal’ isn’t just about throwing everything at the wall to make musical tinnitus. A Flock Of Seagulls’ 1982 track ‘I Ran’ provides the backdrop to closer ‘Post Ryan’; it’s distorted beyond recognition, but it shows Gilla Band have pop chops. Then there’s the shuffle and funk of ‘I Was Away’, the chiming chords of ‘Almost Soon’ and the dubbed-out bass of ‘The Weirds’ - amid the amp static soundscapes, there’s control in the chaos. ‘If ‘The Talkies’ was an act of putting their audience through the wringer, ‘Most Normal’ is the Irish punk quartet not bothered about making anyone feel comfortable. Uneasy and unpredictable, yet invigorating.
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Dublin’s Gilla Band (fka Girl Band) have never been ones to pander. On ‘Most Normal’, they’re embracing that ethos fully with an art-for-art’s-sake record that stretches from the silly to the sublime.
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It’s taken from the outfit’s forthcoming album ‘More Normal’, released next month.