The Rest Is Distraction is the new album from Girls In Synthesis. It was recorded last year in the midst of COVID-19 and if there was any band that could interpret the pain, paranoia and anxious uncertainty of living through multiple lockdowns in a pandemic under a shambolic government then it’s Girls In Synthesis. The Rest Is Distraction deals with “internal and mental struggles as opposed to external current affairs” focusing on “the claustrophobia of emotional anguish”.
Since they were formed in 2017 GiS have maintained a level of intensity that few bands can sustain for one track let alone a body of work. From the singles ‘The Mound/Disappear’, ‘Suburban Hell’ (not to mention various dub remixes of their EPs) through to their first album Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future they challenge both themselves and anyone who listens to them. There is a passionate ferocity to their work that is born out of confronting political and personal issues head-on, like a snowplough in a zombie apocalypse.
With The Rest Is Distraction, GiS have lost none of their angry vitality, but working with long-term collaborator Max Walker, who mixed this album, has helped unlock a new level in capturing the raw power of their music. From the landslide of opening track ‘It’s All Beginning To Change’, the relentless drive of ‘Watch With Mother’, excoriating bass and catchy choruses of ‘Total Control’ and ‘Cottage Industry’, the PiL-sounding rumble of ‘Screaming’, and the awful sense of threat in ‘My Husband’ to the relentless hustle of ‘Your Prayers Have Changed’ and serrated pulse of ‘To A Fault’ this is an album that almost needs a new musical genre to describe it.
Drums sound like lightning hitting sheet metal, the bass is an industrial Geiger counter rising and falling in pain and the guitar is a pissed-off chainsaw riffing and cutting through everything in its path. There’s the essence of agit-punk forebears like Rudimentary Peni and early Killing Joke, but GiS are a band for our time. Girls in Synthesis are a stock car race on the side of an active volcano, and some may think they’re running around saying the sky is falling but amid their sonic defibrillation is the kind of truth-to-power that should wake the nation from its reality-tv coma. This is the real reality, play loud.
Below is the video to ‘Cottage Industry’ (filmed by Girls In Synthesis and edited by Soft Surface) which captures the intensity of the band live; something I experienced for the first time back in 2017 when they supported Yassassin despite playing like the promoter had accidentally put the headliner on first. If you can see live I wholeheartedly advise it and there is a list of tour dates below the video.
Album cover photograph by Bea Dewhurst.
Girls in Syntheses on tour:
19/10/22 – BRISTOL – The Louisiana
20/10/22 – MANCHESTER – The Peer Hat
21/10/22 – NOTTINGHAM – Bodega
22/10/22 – BRIGHTON – Green Door Store
09/11/22 – GHENT – Bar Bricolage [w. Cocaine Piss]
10/11/22 – BRUSSELS – Magasin4
11/11/22 – TOURNAI – Water Moulin
12/11/22 – SIEGEN – Veb Siegen
13/11/22 – HAMBURG – Westwerk
14/11/22 – COPENHAGEN – Rahuset
15/11/22 – ODENSE – Posten
16/11/22 – BERLIN – Urban Spree
17/11/22 – FRIEBURG – Slow Club
18/11/22 – WURZBURG – Cafe Cairo
19/11/22 – NUREMBERG – Desi
20/11/22 – UTRECHT – Db’s
07/12/22 – GLASGOW – The Flying Duck
08/12/22 – NEWCASTLE – Zerox
09/12/22 – HULL – The Adelphi
10/12/22 – BIRMINGHAM – Dark Horse
Review by Paul F Cook