No Girl – Whelmed (Album Review)

No Girl is an Indie-Pop quartet from Auckland who threaten to get under your skin and quietly enchant you with their debut album. Consider yourself Whelmed.

Louisa Nicklin plays guitar. She has a background in modern classical composition and has written orchestral pieces. She also plays edgy Indie Pop and Rock at iconic club venues in Auckland like Whammy and the Wine Cellar. Seamus Maguire fills in a large part of the orchestral sound on synthesisers and dominant bass. Both have written all the songs. Sister Charlotte Nicklin is the singer and Harry Falkiner on drums.

Macauley was released as a single two years ago and kicks off the album. The sound is expansive theatrical Pop and recalls the edginess and English dark weather Funk of the Associates or Echo and the Bunnymen. This house is empty/ This town is empty. The sound captures the quiet unease and apprehension of walking around a city in lockdown.

Greasy continues in the same atmosphere. This is Folk-Pop spread across a large canvas. Metronomic rhythms, and Charlotte has a controlled and pitch-perfect mid-range voice which conveys a certain dread. Melodies are layered and carefully rolled out.

Looking Through and as the rhythms circle and pirouette, the guitar plays nice textured riffs surrounded by echo which borrow a little from Johnny Marr and the Smiths William, It Was Really Nothing. The voice shimmers.

They go a bit deeper into the Punk inspired Manchester sound with Make It Easy. A simple hypnotic bass anchors the song. What starts as ominous Joy Division synthesiser textures slowly open out into orchestral Pop tones with alternating melodic and dissonant guitar phrases.

Inside begins with a bass hook straight out of Sixties Stax. The drums play a shuffle beat against this. Incantatory singing and the overall effect is to be caught in an undertow of melody.

Bigot is a great guitar workout which conveys all the drama and tension with a Jazz-inflected melody. The singer sounds fragile and Folky like Alison Stratton from Young Marble Giants of long ago.

Days a Draggin’ and what threatens to start as Flamenco guitar opens out into Eastern rhythms and melody. Echoes of Miserlou and the guitarist has a faint haunting of Dick Dale’s ghost. The voice is all texture and sounds dreamy. There is a long coda to finish and you sense the band are fans of Television Tom Verlaine.

No Girl do not explode out of the gate with their debut. The music rather radiates out and captivates. The result is very Whelmed.

Rev Orange Peel


Click here for more No Girl