04 October 2009

Girls - 'Hellhole Ratrace'

So by now, it having taken an age to write this, a fuller than average sequence of life events having passed since that initial 10” single – and what a beautiful format that remains – first snared my attention, we have all absorbed the coverage in the quality press; have noted the amusing photos, wherein the two gentlemen of the band are invariably surrounded by a bevy of diversely beautiful girls; have become intrigued by the back story of cults and abuse and loss and redemption; and have therefore been tempted to make the foray into internet or Rough Trade to buy the LP. We are, in short, already most of the way over Girls, our initial enthusiasm having been dampened by the fact that there’s really nothing that new on this LP, and god yes, now we’re being honest, it does sound a bit like Glasvegas, who themselves sounded a bit like...

We’re moving on. Girls was so last Friday. We’re even tired of this trend for reductive band names. Women, Girls.... now this really has to stop, before there’s just a band called Stuff. (I know, inevitably, you’re going to tell me, there is a band called Stuff, most likely attached to one of the lesser Suffolk higher education colleges.) And back in those innocent days of July when this first demanded our attention, this website could have looked cutting edge by banging on about how fabulous this single was, crucial days before printed media, whereas now we wheeze, limping last over the finish line in this particular music hype marathon.

We know, now, that this is the best thing on an LP where limp rock clichés too often abound. But dammit, this remains fabulous, and will still be so even in a couple of days when some other bunch of lo-fi Americans appear to offer the world’s new finest hopes.

This tune’s triumph is surely that it lasts for almost seven minutes yet consists mainly of the same thing repeated again and again. And as a long term passport holder of the Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall, you can hazard a guess at how much I love the three Rs of repetition. It is already a matter of record in these very unviewed pages how much I care for a tune that only changes gear in one direction and builds up an ever more relentless head of steam.
Which is what we have here. It starts. It develops a chorus. And then the chorus repeats. And repeats. Every time you think it’s going to end, it doesn’t. Bagpipey guitars crash in at one point. They keep going. Then the chorus again. And again. And what should lose in effectiveness – isn’t it a shame that on the latest Art Brut record all the best lines are repeated eight times instead of thrown away with casualness for you to pick up on and pick over? – in fact gains. It is a tragedy, is it not, that some of us ever lost that childlike glee in one more, one more?

So for this, they can get our hopes up, let us down, and after that do their best never to bother us again. For these near seven minutes, I’ll remain grateful.

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