Gilla Band (formerly Girl Band) come to Canvas this October in support of their new album Most Normal released on Rough Trade. This is the band’s third album; self-produced and recorded and mixed by the band’s Daniel Fox at Sonic Studios and their rehearsal place. The first single “Eight Fivers” announces itself in that typical Gilla Band way where the lyrics often feel abstracted from the music. Dara’s voice is two opposing forces at once: it’s the melodic cry yearning and dancing over the driving beat. In some ways it’s the album’s most memorable track for how instant it sounds and simple it feels, however, its idiosyncratic enough to create its own peculiar feel. On the track Dara says “Eight Fivers is about 40 quid. It’s about being out of touch with modern circumstances while feeling socially limited. Never fitting in and kind of proud of it. Stuck with what I have and happy for it. Being grateful and not fashionable, self-conscious and too aware of what is lacking. Accepting that jealousy played a big role in my life but trying not to feed into it.”
For their first album as Gilla Band, the foursome has redrawn their own paradigm. Most Normal is like little you’ve heard before, a kaleidoscopic spectrum of noise put in service of broken pop songs, FX-strafed Avant-punk rollercoaster rides and passages of futurist dancefloor nihilism.
Covid lockdown robbed Gilla Band of any opportunity to try the new material out live, but the pandemic also incinerated any idea of a deadline for the new album. They were free to tinker at leisure, to rewrite and restructure and reinvent tracks they’d cut – to, as drummer Adam Faulkner puts it, “pull things apart and be like, ‘Let’s try this. We could try out every wild idea.”
The group also fell under the spell of modern hip-hop, “where there’s really heavy-handed production and they’re messing with the track the whole time,” says basses Daniel Fox. “That felt like a fun route to go down, it was a definite influence.”
The common thread holding Most Normal’s ambitious avant-pop shapes together is frontman Dara Kiely. Throughout, he’s an antic, antagonistic presence, barking wild, hilarious, unsettling spiels, babbling about smearing fish with lubricant or dressing up in bin-liners or having to wear hand-me-down boot-cut jeans (“It was a big, shameful thing, growing up, not being able to afford the look I wanted and having to wear all my brother’s old clothes, like bell-bottomed flares that got nowhere near my ankle,” says Kiely
See them at Canvas with support from Mandy, Indiana.