Say Psych: Album Review: Material Girls – Leather

Material Girls are a sextet from Atlanta who only come out at night. They indulge in glam and goth, whilst maintaining a percussive new wave edge on their new album Leather which was released last Friday on EXAG Records.

It’s an interesting combination, but it comes naturally for these gutter dwelling creatures who cut their teeth on the sweaty Atlanta nightlife, and is enough to summon the ghosts of CBGB and Andy Warhol. After a promising 4 song EP and a year spent touring, including a few dates supporting the B-52s’ Cindy Wilson, the gang is sharper than ever thanks to the addition of guitarist Robbie Rapp (Muuy Biien) and bassist Meghan Dowlen. The Siouxsie-inspired shrieks of Dowlen are a particularly sharp dagger in the Material Girls arsenal, which alternates between squalling psychedelia and apocalyptic post-punk. Echoes of Richard Hell and Pere Ubu flow through nihilistic lyrics, uncaged performances, and inventive riffs.

The eight-track offering opens with ‘Residual Grimace’ with its haunting countenance that instantly reminds the listener of early Nick Cave whilst producing an overall visceral, messy sound that is uncompromising. ‘Ya Ya’ is slightly lighter, with the vocals of Dowlen taking centre stage, its easy to see why with tracks like this they have supported The B-52s… ‘Wade Into the Creek’ is distinctly post punk, with its tapped beat, off-piste guitar riff and drawled vocals and some will find parallels to the New York Dolls in here, a comparison I’m sure they will relish.  ‘There She Goes’ is a different entity entirely, with ethereal vocals floating above an eerie psychedelic backdrop, more Velvet Underground than anything that’s gone before. The added saxophone only heightens the suspense that’s built throughout before powerful vocals push the track to the close.

‘Tightrope’ is different again, and those with keen ears will notice more than a passing resemblance to King Gizzard’s ‘Hot Wax’, but with added attitude and a funkier countenance. ‘Camera Girl’ incorporates elements of all that have gone before, mixing them up and making them a fresh and ‘Dav’s Lament’ is a number of organised chaos, orchestrated in a way that only connoisseurs of post punk can comprehend with an extra element of confusion coming in with the Spanish lyrics. ‘Kill After Kill’ is the perfect track to sum up the album, perfectly typifying all that they incorporate.

Material Girls will not be a sound for everyone, but something tells me that that’s not something they care about. What they do care about is evident and the music they make is evidently a labour of love.

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