Back in January of 2014 we were treated to Cursing the Sea, the debut album from Irish quintet September Girls. It was an enjoyable, if not particularly remarkable debut but at the very least it marked the band as one well worth keeping an ear out for. After a busy year touring the album we’ve only had to wait a matter of months for them to add to their recorded output with the new Veneer EP, released on the excellent Fortuna Pop! label on 24th November.
The Veneer EP offers four new tracks, each one written and sung by a different member of the band. What’s immediately apparent is that these recordings represent a bigger, better and darker side to the September Girls. Opening track ‘Veneer’ is heavier sounding than anything the band have released previously. The vocals and lead guitar do bring melody to the track acting as a sweetener to a menacing, rocking bass line.
Second track ‘Black Oil’ kicks of with an industrial sounding pulse of guitar and drums. The claustrophobic feel of the opening track continues here aided by an anxious spoken vocal while the band whip up a raucously bleak din. The mood changes slightly on ‘Melatonin’, a song the band describe as a lullaby. The vocal and guitar melody is indeed lighter here and it creates a sense of space compared to the claustrophobia of previous songs but there’s still a foreboding melancholy creeping around the edge. If a lullaby was intended to induce nightmares then the September Girls have cracked it. Closing track ‘Butterflies’ again features a swell of noisy guitars and bass soaked in reverb but with a very pleasant vocal shining like the sun at the end of a storm.
Veneer is an excellent EP and a great way for September Girls to round off their year. These four songs are certainly more polished sounding than their debut album, the vocals are more dominant and it all adds up to a band that seem to be generating ideas and growing in confidence quickly. They certainly know how to create a powerful, bleak, gothic soundscape. Think the Cure in a really bad mood or Throwing Muses dipped in black paint. I’ll be keeping both ears out for September Girls in 2015.
Veneer EP by September Girls was released on Fortuna Pop! on 24th November 2014. Go get it here.