Monday, September 1, 2008

Girlschool - Believe

It’s amazing to think that Girlschool started life as a band called Painted Lady way back in 1977, and extraordinary that these sister sledgehammers released their debut album, ‘Demolition’, nearly 25 years ago. And it’s remarkable to discover that Girlschool are apparently listed in The Guinness Book Of Records for being the world’s longest-surviving all-female rock band (although Girlschool guitarist Kim McAuliffe, for one, won’t believe it until she receives the gilt-edged framed certificate).
‘Believe’ is the kind of record you thought no one ever made any more. It’s Girlschool in prime-time, tousled‘n’rat-tailed, aggressive‘n’hook-laden, full-on shoutalong form, and it’s augmented by some ferocious, stiletto-in-the-groin attitudes.
No change there, then, you might say. But ‘Believe’ sounds like a breath of fresh air...albeit with more than a hint of smudged, misapplied lipstick lingering in the wing.
The members of Girlschool may all be in their 40s now, but they’re still trailblazers - even if they’ll never quite live down that burdensome ‘female Motorhead’ sobriquet. Original bassist Enid Williams returned in 2000 (after an absence of 18 years, would you believe), and together with drummer Denise ‘frenzied foxbat’ Dufort the duo are truly one of femme rock’s grittiest, grimiest rhythm sections (even if they’re not exactly bosom buddies). Long-time Girlschool fans may bemoan the continued absence of guitarist Kelly Johnson, but Leeds-born hellcat Jackie Chambers (who also joined in 2000) is a first-rate replacement. Jackie is acutely aware of Girlschool’s howlin’ harridan heritage. She also has a major songwriting credit on each of this album’s 15 tracks. ‘Believe’ mixes straight-to-the-heart, raucous, rasping, typically chunky 70s-style British rock with a bunch of bold songs that push the Girlschool boundaries forward somewhat.
You’ve got to love a band that puts a song called ‘We All Love (To Rock‘N’Roll)’ on an album in 2004. On that track the four-piece don’t disappoint, creating a jaunty, punk-tinged shriek from the past with their archetypal call-and-response vocals and lyrics that go:‘Waking up the neighbors/Waking up the dogs/Walking down the streets/Singing Motorhead songs’. ‘Let’s Get Hard’, with its rampant, Aerosmith-esque rollin’ riff, plus the shrill simplicity of ‘C’mon’ and ‘Feel Good’ are further eye-watering examples of top-spanking ‘School seduction.
But delve a little deeper into the album and you’ll find some surprising maturity, often accompanied by a fiercely feminist undercurrent. ‘Come On Up’ neatly turns male voyeurism on its head; the passionate anti-war cry of ‘Crazy’ contains pinging ‘All The Young Dudes’-type guitar tones and, surprisingly, builds into something of a Euro-metal anthem; the nails-raking-down-the-back-female-empowerment schtick of ‘Yes Means Yes’ had me reaching for a etaphorical tube of Savlon. It’s a much overused phrase these days, but there’s no doubt that Girlschool deserve to be called a national treasure. Even if their jewellery will always come from Argos.
Reviewed in Metal Maidens#37/Oct. 2004 --- By: Toine van Poorten --- Rating: 8 points (out of 10)

1. Come On Up
2. Let's Get Hard
3. Crazy
4. We All Love To (Rock 'N' Roll)
5. Secret
6. New Beginning
7. C'Mon
8. Never Say Never
9. You Say
10. Feel Good
11. Hold On Tight
12. Yes Means Yes
13. We All Have To Choose
14. Play Around (Bonus Track)
15. Passion

.. Year: 2004
.. Label: Communique
.. Country: U.K.
.. Bitrate: 256 kbps
.. Ripped: EAC 9.0
.. Genre: Metal
.. Home-Page:
.. Wikipedia:
.. MySpace:
.. BUY ME: see MySpace
.. BUY ME: see Home-Page

[[[ pass - breed ]]]

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