Chromatic is a video series capturing musicians in unique places around Ireland. See previous episodes featuring MuRli, Maija Sofia, Royal Yellow, Louise Gaffney, Wyvern Lingo and more.
This episode we joined up with Girlfriend., for a grungy hazy performance of ‘In Silence’ in the remnants of a disheveled bar.
Girlfriend. is a five-piece band hailing from North Dublin that makes visceral and emotional alternative rock music.
Girlfriend channel the ferocity of early grunge and the vulnerability of slowcore, the band has a uniquely raw and emotional sound that they use to create compelling, cathartic and explosive live shows.
The album To Be Quiet was released on Halloween and was preceded by with excellent singles like the shoegaze-influenced ‘In Silence’, along with ‘Trust’ and ‘Repent’. And the band’s sound feature grungegaze, post hardcore, emo and dreampop styles.
Watch the Chromatic live performance video here:
Initially forming in 2015 in North County Dublin, founding members Hana Lamari, Sophie Dunne and Lahela Jones quickly gained traction, gigging extensively around the country’s punk scenes, releasing a self-recorded EP 3am Rituals and their first professionally recorded release, the double A-side ‘Spitkissing’ and ‘Small Smile Grow.’ Eilis Mahon joined the band in 2018 as they continued to grow in notoriety around the country for their affecting, abrasive live shows, but by the end of the year, intense emotional and physical burnout had led to their embarking on indefinite hiatus. In 2022 they made a welcome return with the single ‘Repent’, announcing the addition of new member Robyn Avery.
The album was written over the course of the intervening years as the band were living together in a shared house in Walkinstown. Writing, listening, and sharing inspirations together, a collective creative healing took place among the band, and their intense friendship, humor and dedication is integral to the music. Luckily when the Covid lockdown hit, they were already living together and so could continue to work on the album uninterrupted, rehearsing for grueling seven hour days in “a crappy lockup rehearsal space” in a Walkinstown industrial estate, where there “weren’t even any toilet facilities so we had to piss in buckets and alleyways”, transporting gear to and from the house in a trolley borrowed from the local Dunnes Stores. While working on the album, the band were illegally evicted from their shared home. Faced with the harsh reality of neoliberal Dublin’s housing crisis, it added a prescient double-symbol to the housing imagery across the songs. This made the band more determined than ever to finish the record.
The haunting of To Be Quiet is the effects that the suppression of trauma ripples across the psyche. With song titles like ‘Bury This’ and ‘Subconscious Acts’, girlfriend. demonstrate what can happen when we try to suppress a past that refuses to stay buried. If we aren’t careful, we can let ourselves be enclosed by our past, it can cave us in like the walls of a house. To Be Quiet is an act of refusal against this enclosure, an exorcism that happens through the collective bonds of friendship, and the catharsis of noise. Across fourteen challenging, moving and evocative songs, girlfriend. show us what can happen when we alchemise our vulnerability into a defiant power, when we take the memories that shaped us and shape them into something else. “To be quiet in a house on fire” is to stand your power, to demonstrate your strength in the face of those flames.