Album Review: Girls In Synthesis – Sublimination


After two critically acclaimed albums (2020’s Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future and 2022’s The Rest Is Distraction), and numerous mini-album, EP and single releases, London based innovators Girls In Synthesis are back with LP3, Sublimination, and it is without doubt their most poignant and visceral yet.

Without doubt pushing themselves to new limits, they have broken into territories unknown and in the process constructed their own world. They’ve brought forward their interpretation of a dark, twisted and angular pop record, with all the intensity of their previous work.

GIS explain they adopted a radically different approach to making Sublimation compared to previous sessions. Recorded late 2023 at Sick Room Studios in Narborough, Norfolk by Owen Turner, these sessions marked the first time the band had worked with an engineer from the recording process onwards. Typically, in the past, GIS would record and engineer everything themselves and then collaborate on the mix with someone else, but this time they retreated to rural Norfolk and completely absorbed themselves in the isolation and quietness of their surroundings. “We very much put a lot of importance on the geography and locations of the places we undertake projects,” says Jim. “They seem to feed into the work itself. It was completely removed from any other distractions, and the studio was conducive to making music. It wasn’t a sterile environment. Owen really listened and made sure that the quality of the songs and the atmosphere and energy of the music transferred.”

Opening with single ‘Light’s Out’, a softer, more melodic GIS is revealed, a side some didn’t know they had in them perhaps. With the addition of substantially more synth, their sound is instantly fuller, denser and rounded out. As the track progresses into the elements fans have come to know and love come into play, making this an intriguing opening gambit. Into ‘Deceit’ we see their signature sound tinged with hints of the gothic, creating a powerful allure which is only heightened by the intriguing, crooning vocal lines, something not usually synonymous with their name. ‘Semblance of Choice’ is a different beast entirely, with a clapped interjection that is so catchy you will be humming it for days. When accompanied with a jangly bass line, this is one of those songs that should be played at extreme volumes. ‘We Are Here’ continues with a hypnotic countenance that pulls you in deep and the title will undoubtedly become a chant at live shows such is its potency. ‘Corrupting Memories’ again skirts the gothic, while peddling their trademark driving drums and bass foundation. This brings influences from late 1970s/early 1980s into focus with the contemporary GIS intensity, ‘I Was Never There’ also continues this while allowing tension to build in its repetition before the title is chanted to a motorik beat.

‘Picking Things Out Of The Air’ brings the synth and guitar play to the front, accompanied by a striking vocal line that soars through. It again utilises the darker end of the scales to create a marching menace, carefully contained. ‘I Judge Myself’ and ‘Subtle Differences’ make for an intoxicating duo and probably the two most harmonious GIS songs to date., with lyrics that show why they are so far above their contemporaries, tackling a challenging analysis of the anxiety and emotional turmoil of self-reflection and human relationships. The concluding combination of ‘The Prefix’ and ‘A Damning Lesson’ see bits of all the previous tracks, amplified, intensified and thrust forward in a way that ensures the end of this album is as strong as the start.

The lyrical prowess, synth underplay and clever guitar interplay mark Subliminiation out as something distinguished and significant. Here are 11 tracks of genius. They set out to make a point, and have done so in a way that only they know how. Girls In Synthesis stand head and shoulders above their contemporaries and deserve for this record to see them soar. The interesting question is where do they go from here…?

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