The September Girls are lost at sea.
At least, metaphorically. Their latest album, Cursing the Sea, tackles life’s turmoil, feeling lost, breaking up and making up. As far as universal truths go, this album belongs in the library’s reference section.
The scope of Cursing the Sea is perhaps owing to the fact that all the September Girls’ members write the songs – lyrics, melody, everything. And it’s a system that works well for the band, as Paula Cullen – vocals and bass player – explains. “I think it’s such a blessing that we all write as there is no great pressure on one person. We’ve all suffered from writer’s block at one point or another, so it’s nice to not feel that songs have to be forced. We always have such a large pool of ideas to work from.”
There are no rules to the September Girls’ writing process, either, says singer and keyboard player Lauren Kerchner: “Each of us comes up with ideas and brings them in to the group. Most songs come in as only a few chords and a melody, or even just a guitar riff in some cases, so where it really starts to develop and come together is when we all work on it – writing instrumental parts, building on the structure and contributing to the overall sound of the song.”
But each of the band’s members write in a totally different style, according to Cullen. “I would say that maybe Caoimhe, Jessie, and Lauren in particular bring more “finished” songs to the table. Personally, I usually come up with one element, sometimes a riff, sometimes lyrics or a situation and the others build around that. The newest song we are working on for example, came out of myself and Sarah jamming some stuff out in our rehearsal room, and some lyrics I had been saving in my phone when I woke up after having crazy dreams.”
September Girls formed in Dublin in 2011 but they didn’t hang about in recording . The band quickly recorded some demos and began booking gigs in Ireland and the UK, before releasing a handful of well-received limited edition singles on various cassette and 7” labels around the world.
It didn’t take long for them to take off, but it’s not hard to see why. Their sound is rich and varied – a melting pot of angular guitar parts, garage rock and punk. The band also draw inspiration from the likes of Phil Spector, The Velvet Underground, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus And Mary Chain.
September Girls will play The Harley on Tuesday.