If the guitar band is dying, nobody has told IT GIRL, an all-caps (both in name and in sound) group of Glaswegians who together craft music akin to smashing Interpol and Arcade Fire into a rather loud blender. Their debut release, the schizophrenic Neon Signs, is seven tracks long and free-as-in-beer direct from the band’s own site.
They take the dance-rock formula - as many syncopated hi-hats as they can get away with, mixed equally with angular, crunchy guitars and a droney, voice-as-instrument singer - and use it to great effect in creating the self-titled opener. Guitars layer over one another almost as though jostling for space in a relentless musical onslaught, as a Paul Banks-esque monotone snarls over the top.
The star of the record is unquestionably the jarring lead guitar. Although sticking religiously to a time signature, it provides a great contrast to the droning undertones of both the bass and its rhythm counterpart. Victim to the Clock is a perfect example; it contains more riffs than would be otherwise advisable, and simultaneously has a great deal of diversity.
The same can be said about the record as a whole. Firelight begins almost like an indie-rock classic before piercing drums pull its tone right back into foot-tapping territory. Human Touch is the aural equivalent of a wasp bike - buzzy and snarly with incessantly brooding vocals.
Followed and Found is perhaps an odd choice of closer - it sounds arguably how Two Door Cinema Club would, had they targeted fans of Joy Division instead of teenage girls. It successfully attempts to be dark and angsty and, at the same time, eerily upbeat.
The group won’t be to everyone’s taste - there is only so much of the deep monotone most can take. But this isn’t solely about the voice; this experiments with how far a band can push the boundaries of post-punk revival, dabbling in trails previously blazed by highly successful bands past. It is certainly an enjoyable, and deviously diverse, half-hour of music.
Neon Signs by IT GIRL is out now and available from their Bandcamp page.