Girls Names – Stains On Silence. Released via Tough Love on Ltd Edition Orange Vinyl LP, Std Vinyl LP, CD.
RIYL: The Cure, IceAge, Wire, HTRK, These New Puritans, The Fall, Berlin-era Bowie/Iggy.
It stands to reason that many vital albums come critically close to never being made. The eight-track upshot of doubt, upheaval and financial strain, Stains on Silence by Girls Names is one such release. Following 2015’s blitzing Arms Around a Vision, and the parting of drummer Gib Cassidy just over a year later, the Belfast band suddenly found themselves facing down a looming void.
Where AAAV proved a brazen statement of intent, Stains on Silence bounds forth as its feature-length comedown. What could have seen the band buckle became an opportunity for approaching things tabula rasa.
During its two-year transmutation, Cully, bassist Claire Miskimmin and guitarist Philip Quinn had a single aim for their fourth album: to make an old-fashioned record clocking in around 30 to 35 minutes in length that made the listener reach straight for repeat.
From the Bang Bang bar-summoning swoon of opener ’25’ and the submerged disco doom of ‘Haus Proud’ to the rapt, dub-leaning ‘Fragments of a Portrait’, Girls Names have excelled in their goal by forging an LP of synchronous nuance and defiance. Marked by the presence of drum machines and programming throughout, these eight masterfully-woven tales are once again commandeered by founder Cully, whose words, understated yet defiant, mine purpose and meaning from the mire (“I want to bathe again, I want to swim again / In a pool of twisting bodies, blackened gold.” — ‘25’). But while Stains on Silence came critically close to never being made, having lived with it, reconfigured it, and guided its metamorphosis from flickers of inspiration and half-formed schemes, it’s both a statement of pure perseverance, and a head-on confrontation with ambivalence that couldn’t be more assured. (Brian Coney March 2018)
Tracklisting: Girls Names – Stains On Silence
1. 25 – Have a Listen
2. Haus Proud
3. The Process
4. The Impaled Mystique
5. Fragments of a Portrait
6. A Moment and a Year
7. Stains on Silence