Eclectic electropop thrills
It’s been a while since Girl One And The Grease Guns peeked their heads over the horizon. The enigmatic outfit have always managed to capture the imagination through a series of intriguing record releases which could delight listeners – while also confounding them – through their unique approach to music composition.
Their 2017 album Night Of The Living Electrical Appliances stuck pretty closely to the outfit’s intentions to combine “pure electro-pop with more experimental, darker sounding tracks”. It was a dizzying mix that jumped from bubblegum pop tunes such as ‘He’s A Replicant’ through to more experimental electronica, such as the fractured tones of ‘Telegraph Street’
Night Of The Living Electrical Appliances was also billed as the one and only album that Girl One would put out (not to be confused with their earlier compilation album The Strange Little Lines That Humans Draw In The Dust). Their last cryptic message inscribed on the Electrical Appliances sleeve notes stated: “We do not know what we’re going to do next. We haven’t planned that far ahead. We like it that way”.
It’s obviously a girl’s prerogative to change her mind, which leads us neatly to their latest outing. Transmissions From The Glass Factory is a 12″ vinyl release with two tracks that carry on in the same DIY aesthetic ideal that formed the DNA of earlier releases. It’s also a nod, perhaps, to Girl One’s origins of knocking out 7″ single releases from back in 2013. As with those early songs, the two tracks featured here have a stripped-down approach, passing over any polished production to aim for a raw, vital sound.
‘Good Morning Mr X’ opens with a frenetic electronic pulsing rhythm that lends a machine-like aesthetic to the track. But the synth melodies and whispery vocals give the composition a beguiling contrast as the lyrics tell a tale of business life around the titular Mr X (“Nice new suit and a clip-on smile”). It’s a commentary piece of sorts on corporate culture (“in this game of life that we must all play/some of us are going to push the others out of the way”), dabbling perhaps in the same waters that electro-anarchists LegPuppy like to wade in.
‘Forever Seems So Long’, meanwhile, combines electropop with Girl One’s ongoing love of ’60s girl groups. Buzzy synth melodies slide over an insistent drum pattern as the lyrics hint at themes of isolation (“When I am alone/darkness comes too quickly”).
One of the charms of the releases issuing forth from the Next Phase: Normal Records label is, of course, the DIY approach. The 12″ vinyl features handprinted track listings and black and white stickers whacked on the otherwise anonymous sleeve (a nod to the DJ promo culture).
Also, for those who swipe left on their interest in vinyl, each copy comes with a handy CD version which means that every camp is catered for.
Transmissions From The Glass Factory is out now on Next Phase : Normal Records
For those keen to snap up a bargain, the record label are also doing a special limited time deal. Grab Transmissions From The Glass Factory plus earlier vinyl releases ‘Bashed, Beaten & Broken (Trip The Switch)’ b/w ‘Made Out Of Perspex’ 7″, the split 7″ with Jen Schande (on orange vinyl) and ‘The Shatterproof Man’ b/w ‘A Steel Cat In A Glass Jar’ heavyweight semi-transparent 7″ for just £10 for UK orders (£13.50 abroad). Drop Squirrel Records a line on Facebook or via email for details firstname.lastname@example.org Offer ends 30th September 2018.
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.