If we had to describe the sound and releases of UK experimental post-punks GIRLS IN SYNTHESIS in three words, uncompromising, uncomfortable and addictive would be the answer. As proven across previous tracks, EPs, compilation and a fiercely acclaimed debut album, it is a proposition which infests and lingers, provoking the senses and thoughts with creative interrogation. It is also one of the most compelling incitements we have come across, certainly recently maybe ever, and it has all been escalated within their highly anticipated sophomore full-length, The Rest Is Distraction.
Crafted in the distinctive dissonance and imagination of bassist/vocalist John Linger, guitarist/keyboardist Jim Cubitt and drummer Nicole Pinto, The Rest Is Distraction is a blistering provocation of sound and emotive discord. There is no compromise in its vehemence and touch and no respite within its challenge and imagination, and quite simply, the record puts its impressively striking predecessor, Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future, in the shade.
Tension and that dissonance soak every essence and breath of The Rest Is Distraction, physically and emotionally it confronts and questions the listener whilst exploring the darkest corners and depths of inner turmoil and anguish. It was created within the continuing influences and grip of the Covid pandemic which we can only assume has added to the feeling of isolation and claustrophobia which resonate in its sound and lyrical incitements; a thick intimacy either of experience or observation seeming to radiate from its tenebrific heart.
Album opening It’s All Beginning To Change stirs on a deep hum with guitars soon trembling and keys sprinkling intrigue as the track rises towards its eventual predacious proposal. An inherent nagging soon takes hold of the track and already keen attention, a tempest ultimately brewed, uncaged and steered by the rhythmic predation of Pinto and Linger with the latter’s tones just as resolute. Swept up in its often cyclonic insistence, the track proved pure sonic manna to these ears but just the first tide of the toxic yet euphoric fomentation to come.
The following Watch With Mother instantly descends with impacting prowess, again rhythms as manipulative as the guitar with its webs of senses scything antagonism. Again, there is that unrelenting persistence of sound and invention, pushing and harassing the listener whilst embroiling the imagination in the same insurgency and a tapestry of hooks, melodically and violently bred, which escalate the persuasion and enterprise.
Prowling and snarling like an ursine antagonist Total Control prowls next, its body a rippling mass of sonic muscle and truculence. Instantly addiction licked its lips, as much shaped by the band’s rhythmic orchestration as Linger’s vocal eyeballing and Cubitt’s sonic swirling while Swallowed Pill steams into the senses with voracious appetite, urgency shared in the vocals though also somewhat reined in by the guitar’s sonic netting.
Fair to say already the album was leaving the band’s previous heady exploits behind, and the noisy efforts of any others this year we suggest, and confirmation kept coming as Screaming shared its clamorous anxiety with intensity and drama before My Husband took it all to a new level of disquietude with its monotonous rhythmic nag and surges of sonic wind. Written from the angle of someone living with a physically abusive partner and featuring Eleni Poulou (ex-The Fall) on keyboards, the track reeks of fear and tension, every second a suggestion of violence and every eruption the prelude to greater apprehension as relative but threat carrying calm returns.
As Cottage Industry pulsates with corrosive menace and enterprise and Not As I Do swings like a psychotic clockwork manipulator, both tracks in their unique ways dictating lusty reactions, new enslavement to the release was forged with Lacking Bite adding further greed through its controlled yet untamed ravening, that inherent nagging again using instincts as its puppet.
Your Prayers Have Changed is a slice of rock ‘’n roll clamour, a wildly swinging perpetrator of the senses and like so many the instigator of raucous participation, setting up ears and appetite for album closing To A Fault. The track has a hypnotic Wire-esque hue to its caliginous musings and Tartarean flumes and makes for a stunning conclusion to the release.
The Rest Is Distraction as a whole is an examination of sound and word, as well as one’s senses and imagination, which is borne of inner turbulence yet also is like an echo of the world itself. It is a breath-taking proposition, at times literally, and by far for us one of the year’s most impressive and thrilling offerings.
The Rest Is Distraction is released October 14th via the band’s own label Own It and Cargo Records with pre-ordering available now, digitally @ https://girlsinsynthesis.bandcamp.com/album/the-rest-is-distraction and on CD and vinyl @ https://cargorecordsdirect.co.uk/
It also comes as a limited Dinked Edition on “River Lea Turquoise” vinyl with an exclusive flexi disc with unreleased track (400); pre-order @ https://dinkededition.co.uk/girls-in-synthesis-the-rest-is-distraction.
Catch GIRLS IN SYNTHESIS on tour @
19/10/22 – BRISTOL – The Louisiana
20/10/22 – MANCHESTER – The Peer Hat
21/10/22 – NOTTINGHAM – Bodega
22/10/22 – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store
09/11/22 – GHENT – Bar Bricolage [w. Cocaine Piss]
10/11/22 – BRUSSELS – Magasin4
11/11/22 – TOURNAI – Water Moulin
12/11/22 – SIEGEN – Veb Siegen
13/11/22 – HAMBURG – Westwerk
14/11/22 – COPENHAGEN – Rahuset
15/11/22 – ODENSE – Posten
16/11/22 – BERLIN – Urban Spree
17/11/22 – FRIEBURG – Slow Club
18/11/22 – WURZBURG – Cafe Cairo
19/11/22 – NUREMBERG – Desi
20/11/22 – UTRECHT – Db’s
07/12/22 – GLASGOW – The Flying Duck
08/12/22 – NEWCASTLE – Zerox
09/12/22 – HULL – The Adelphi
10/12/22 – BIRMINGHAM – Dark Horse
Pete RingMaster 07/10/2022
Copyright RingMaster Review