The Girls

Released 1986 on Brasch
Reviewed by king feeb, 04/07/2003ce

The title of this album, "Reunion", is a complete misnomer. The Girls existed from 1976 until the early 80s, terrorising Boston-area clubs and loft parties with their bizarre sound and strange stage appearance (when I saw them at a Thayer St. party, the entire band was dressed as chefs, complete with cliche poofy chef hats). They broke up about midway through the decade, leaving only one single, "Jeffery I Hear You", produced by Pere Ubu lead singer David Thomas and released on Ubu's Hearthan label. They never reunited. A year or so later, this amazing LP, made up of various unreleased recordings, plus the aforementioned "Jeffery", appeared on an unknown label out of Belmont MA, Brasch Records. It promptly galloped off into oblivion, and the album has never been issued as a CD. This is a crime, NAY! a SIN- especially considering some of the barrel-scrapings that have made the CD-reissue-cut in recent years. Some enterprising record company needs to wake the fuck up, fer crissakes!
Anyhow, this platter starts off strong with the classic "Jeffery", a tale of a child who communicates with his dead brother. Two or three chords is too many for this art-punk masterwork- it blasts along on ONE relentless chord with drummer/vocalist Daved Hild giving a performance that starts out controlled but slowly accelerates into fear-fueled mania. The beat stutters along like a punky cousin to Faust's "It's A Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" until Hild bellows "Jeffery I hear you and I feel afraid", the beat changes, the song turns itself inside out as it gallops off double time to its thunderous conclusion... still never changing chords or key. Phoenominal.
Now, if they had quit right there, they would be assured a high place in the weirdrock panthenon, but I'm pleased to say that there are several other tracks on this LP of similarly high quality.
My personal favorite is the rocking "Methodist Church", with Hild spouting non sequiturs like "I am not a yoyo/ I am not a balloon" . Keyboardist Robin Amos (now of Cul De Sac and Damo Suzuki's backing band)slathers the verses with odd bell-like ring modulator tones. (Amos is a standout throughout the album, adding Allen Ravenstine-like textures that give the songs a distinct sonic signature without overwhelming the other instruments). Each verse ends with a call and response between Hild and the rest of the band:
HILD: Methodist Church
BAND: Shhhhh
HILD (louder): Methodist Church
BAND: (louder): SHHH
HILD (screaming full tilt): METHODIST CHURCH!!!!
Then the whole band crashes into a singalong chorus with Amos unpinning the changes with a near-Farfisa organ sound: "No time this time" they chant as guitarist Mark Dagley unleashes a series of demented arpeggios. By the end, you'll be pinned straight up against the wall, your mouth agape with awe and laughter. I know I was.
And as the infomercial guys always say "And that's not all". "Vietcong Women" is a sinister strutter with staccato guitars and a weirdly burbling, buzzing keyboard line. It crints along as Hild singsongs nationalistic cliches: "Vietcong women carry guns", "Chinese women wear hats", "German women marry fascists" etc. George Condo's bass locks into Hild's beat like a hungry Doberman, carrying the near-cliche pseudo-Asian motif to its logical cartoon conclusion.
The album closes with "Cubist Grid" where Hild bellows "were all living in a cubist grid/ you might as well get used to it". The interplay between Amos and Dagley is all geometric sharp angles and broken curves. It's all over after a buzzing squall. Over and out.

Whew. Well I didn't even mention fine tracks like "Now's Now" "Golf" "Down's Syndrome" and "Doggie Auto" all of which have a high quotient of surrealist buffoonery and sonic mayhem. So, get on your phone. Call the President, Queen or Dictator of your choice and DEMAND that this gem be reissued on CD RIGHT NOW OR FUCKIN' ELSE! Do your part. Don't let future generations piss on your grave because you didn't raise your voice.

NOTE: A live disc of the Girls playing at Boston's legendary Rathskellar has recently been released on CD. I don't have it yet, but you can be sure I will soon. I'm sure I'll be raving about that one soon also.

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